Jazz at the UN

There is a concert tonight at the United Nations that will go down in history.  Why so historic? April 30, 2012 is the first ever “International Jazz Day” as proclaimed by the United Nations Education and Scientific Organization (UNESCO). The UN will commemorate the day with a first-ever jazz concert at UN headquarters in New York.

The concert is being co-hosted by UNESCO, the US  mission to the United Nations and UNESCO goodwill ambassador Herbie Hancock.  The lineup for tonight’s performance is…amazing:

“this special evening concert at the United Nations General Assembly Hall will feature performances by Tony Bennett, Terence Blanchard, Richard Bona (Cameroon), Dee Dee Bridgewater, Candido, Robert Cray, Eli Degibri (Israel), Jack DeJohnette, Sheila E., Jimmy Heath, Zakir Hussain (India), Chaka Khan, Angelique Kidjo (Benin), Lang Lang (China), Romero Lubambo (Brazil), Shankar Mahadevan (India), Wynton Marsalis, Hugh Masekela (South Africa), Christian McBride, Danilo Pérez, Dianne Reeves, Bobby Sanabria, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Hiromi (Japan), and others. George Duke will serve as Musical Director. Confirmed Co-Hosts include Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Quincy Jones.

This New York Times’ preview of the show also suggests that UN Messenger of Peace Stevie Wonder will participate.

The International Jazz Day celebrations kicked off in Paris on Friday (here’s a video re-cap) with a concert and series of discussions and “master-classes.”) This morning, UNESCO sponsored a “sunrise concert” at the Jazz Fest in New Orleans, and tonight is the star-studded concert at the UN.

Even if you don’t have the diplomatic (or jazz!) credentials to participate in the event in person, you can watch the concert via webcast tonight at 730 pm EST. Watch below. In the meantime, here is one of my favs to whet your appetitite.

And watch here starting at 7:30 pm EST.