World musicians gathered in Havana to send a message of peace and dialogue among cultures through the power of jazz… Yes, you don’t have to be a super hero to change the world, but if Will Smith comes along… well, that won’t hurt…
Smith along with renowned American players Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Esperanza Spalding, Cassandra Wilson, shared the stage of the Grand Havana Theater Alicia Alonso with Cuban Chucho Valdes, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Bobby Carcasses, Robertico Fonseca, Francisco Amat and Barbarito Torres.
Jazz players from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe also joined the ensemble to highlight the Internationl Day of Jazz, event that closed with John Lennon's peace and hope-calling son Imagine.
Addressing the audience, Hancock who is UNESCO's Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue recalled an African proverb saying that a city without music is a dead city, “so Havana today is the most lively and dynamic place in the planet.”
The author of world famous RockIt thanked Cuba for its enormous support of jazz, saying “Afro-Cuban jazz and its rich history have played a pivotal role in the evolution and enrichment of the entire jazz genre”.
“Today, we celebrate the international art form of jazz and its power to promote dialogue among cultures, to make the most of diversity, to deepen respect for human rights and all forms of expression,”, said Unesco Director General Irina Bokova.
“The story of jazz is written into the quest for human dignity, democracy and civil rights. Its rhythms and variety have given strength to the struggle against all forms of discrimination and racism - this is the message we must take across the world today,”, she added.
“This year's focus on Cuba is testament to the power of jazz to build bridges and join women and men together around shared values and aspirations”, added.
In anticipation of the Day, schools, art venues, community centres, jazz clubs and parks across Havana and throughout Cuba have already begun engaging its citizens. Jazz history and education classes were provided for tens of thousands of students in more than 11,000 schools across Cuba.