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White House Hosts International Jazz Day Concert

  • VOA News

Herbie Hancock and Aretha Franklin, perform at the International Jazz Day Concert on the South Lawn of the White House of the Washington, April 29, 2016.

Herbie Hancock and Aretha Franklin, perform at the International Jazz Day Concert on the South Lawn of the White House of the Washington, April 29, 2016.

"Jazz is perhaps the most honest reflection of who we are as a nation. Because after all, has there ever been any greater improvisation than America itself?," said U.S. President Barack Obama, who with his wife Michelle, hosted the fifth annual International Jazz Day Concert at the White House.

The concert Friday will be broadcast across America Saturday — International Jazz Day — as an ABC television network special and streamed around the world by the United Nations and UNESCO.

"Jazz was born in the U.S. and traveled the world as a music of tolerance, freedom and human dignity. This is why UNESCO created International Jazz Day," said Irina Bokova, UNESCO director-general.

WATCH: Related video of jazz concert

Some of the artists performing at the 2016 All-Star Global Concert at the White House include: Aretha Franklin, Hugh Masekela, Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Al Jarreau, Diana Krall, Sting, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Chick Corea, Terrence Blanchard and Buddy Guy.

On Saturday in Washington, many acclaimed musicians will participate in a day-long series of free jazz performances, master classes, improvisational workshops, roundtable discussions, education programs, jam sessions and community outreach initiatives at schools, embassies, arts centers, hospitals, museums, social service agencies, jazz clubs, senior centers, metro stations, recreation centers and parks.

President Barack Obama speaks at the International Jazz Day Concert on the South Lawn of the White House of the Washington, April 29, 2016.

President Barack Obama speaks at the International Jazz Day Concert on the South Lawn of the White House of the Washington, April 29, 2016.

The programs in Washington will be among the thousands of International Jazz Day live performances, educational activities and community service programs taking place in all 50 U.S. states and in nearly every country.

President Obama said about jazz: "From humble origins as the music of the black working class – largely invisible to the mainstream – it went on to become American's most significant artistic contribution to the world."

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