Update: You can now watch the entire performance via International Jazz Day’s website and YouTube. Highlights include a cover of Miles Davis’ ‘Take Five’ at 37mins, a Prince tribute at 72mins featuring Herbie Hancock, Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, Rapsody and Aretha Franklin singing ‘Purple Rain’, and legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy at 82mins.
Herbie Hancock leads generational cast for a celebration of jazz.
Today marks International Jazz Day and the White House celebrated the occasion with a concert last night that will be broadcast tonight on ABC and online, beginning at 8pm EST.
Hancock, who is also a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and chairman of International Jazz Day, acts as musical director for the concert which features veterans of the music such as Chick Corea, Aretha Franklin, Wayne Shorter, and Buddy Guy alongside a new generation including Robert Glasper and Terrace Martin.
Tom Carter, president of the Thelonious Monk Institute who runs International Jazz Day, explained how the president and his wife “immediately embraced the idea of doing this at the White House” when it was presented to them. “Jazz has been a very important part of both of their lives,” he added. The annual celebration is now in its fifth year.
The event took place yesterday behind closed doors. Barack Obama gave a speech, which you can see below, about the importance of jazz and his father’s influence in discovering the music. Terrace Martin, best known today for his work with Kendrick Lamar, shared photos of the evening letting on that the performance included a tribute to Prince and that Rapsody was also among the featured vocalists.
Jazz at The White House will be broadcast online via the White House and UNESCO websites, among others.
I just got to the White House to play @ #internationaljazzday with @therealrobertglasper & the master teacher @herbiehancockofficial ! This is going to be fun ! Tonight we are playing a tribute to Prince so every note I play tonight will be for him and the message of love, freedom & world peace ! Thanks #obama !!! #velvetportaits #love #soundsofcrenshaw
What a night. It seemed that all of the records I've ever dug for, listened to, and chopped up, jumped down off my shelves and were walking around in front of me; Lee Ritenour, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Hugh Masekela, Diane Reeves, Dee Bridgewater, Wayne Shorter, and of course, Aretha Franklin and Sting…. The homies @therealrobertglasper @rapsody and @terracemartin KILLED it… Please tune in tonight on ABC at 8pm, as we celebrate the beautiful world of Jazz with President @BarackObama and First Lady @MichelleObama on the White House Lawn. An amazing experience. Thank you, from the good folks at @jamlarecords.