International Jazz Day: Herbie Hancock and Jacob Collier in the spotlight

International Jazz Day founder Herbie Hancock

Iconic jazz pianist Herbie Hancock is leading today’s International Jazz Day celebrations.

From Albania and Australia to Vietnam and Venezuela, jazzers around the world will today mark International Jazz Day.

#JAZZDAY celebrates the spirit of jazz and the genre’s emphasis on freedom of expression, collaboration and improvisation.

The brainchild of the legendary pianist, composer and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, the event was first held in 2012 to mark the diplomatic role jazz plays in bringing people together.

This year #JAZZDAY gigs will be held in more than 200 countries including Australia, where Hancock will perform in Melbourne alongside jazz musos from China, Iran and India.

In the UK, jazz gigs will take place across the country (check out a list of what’s happening HERE) and in London jazz polymath Jacob Collier will be given a special award at tonight’s Jazz FM Awards.

Collier (who incidentally made a rather sweet educational video with Hancock for WIRED magazine, we’ve posted it below) will be presented with a PRS for Music Gold Award for his outstanding contribution to jazz composition and performance. Not bad for a 24-year-old, eh?

Other awards to be given out at the ceremony at Shoreditch Town Hall include:

Vocalist of the Year

Nominees: Cherise Adams-Burney, Ian Shaw and Judi Jackson.

Soul Act of the Year

Nominees: Jose James, Leon Bridges and Poppy Ajudha.

Blues Act of the Year

Nominees: Eric Bibb, Errol Linton and Roosevelt Collier.

Beverley Knight, Eric Bibb Cherise, Adams-Burnett, and tour de force South London collective Steam Down (nominees in the categories of The Innovation Award and Live Experience of the Year Award) will also perform.