Kurt's News Archive - 2017

The Branford Marsalis Quartet with special guest Kurt Elling have been awarded the ECHO Jazz Prize 2017 as International Ensemble of the Year for their 2016 album, Upward Spiral (OKeh Records)!ECHO Jazz Prize 2017

The ECHO Jazz Prize is the German equivalent of the Grammy.

Branford Marsalis was also nominated for International Instrumentalist of the Year - Saxophones/Woodwinds for Upward Spiral.

The 2017 ECHO Jazz Prizes were awarded in 21 categories for albums released between October 31, 2015 and November 1, 2016 which also received at least two outstanding reviews from music journalists. Winners were selected by twelve jurors from the music industry whose judgment was based especially on artistic criteria, but which also took into account commercial success and appreciation by jazz fans.

The ECHO is an established and well-known music award presented by the German Phono Academy, the cultural arm of the Music Industry Association, honoring outstanding achievements and successful national and international artists. The ECHO Klassik Prize was first awarded in 1994, and the Jazz Prize was added in 2010.

Kurt also received the ECHO Jazz Prize for Male Vocalist of the Year in 2012 for his 2011 recording, The Gate.

This year's awards ceremony will take place on June 1, 2017 at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany.

Many congratulations to Kurt, the members of the Branford Marsalis Quartet - Branford Marsalis, saxophones; Joey Calderazzo, piano; Eric Revis, bass; and Justin Faulkner, drums - and to all of this year's winners!

Following thousands of events taking place in over 190 countries, International Jazz Day 2017 culminated in a phenomenal concert streamed worldwide from Havana's historic Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso. As the International Jazz Day 2017 Global Host City, the musically vibrant city of Havana also presented a wide range of concerts and education programs in partnership with Cuba's Ministry of Culture, the Cuban Institute of Music, and the Cuban National Commission for UNESCO.

The Global Concert began with an all-star group of musicians from Cuba and around the world performing "Cuba Bop" and "Manteca" in tribute to the groundbreaking 1940s collaboration between Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo that blended Afro-Cuban music and jazz.

Kurt Elling performed a spirited "There's a Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon for New York" with Christian Sands, Carl Allen, Melissa Aldana, and percussionist Adel González.

Kurt Elling performs at IJD 2017

Acclaimed vocalist Cassandra Wilson performed her sultry composition "You Move Me" and Cuban trumpet virtuoso Julio Padrón played Freddie Hubbard's inventive "Byrdlike." Beloved Cuban vocalist Bobby Carcassés joined forces with master bassist and vocalist Richard Bona of Cameroon for a fiery rendition of the Latin jazz tune "Bilongo."

"Bésame Mucho" showcased the global influence of jazz, with pianists Youn Sun Nah (Republic of Korea) and Tarek Yamani (Lebanon); bassist Esperanza Spalding and violinist Regina Carter (United States); and drummer Antonio Sánchez (Mexico).

To mark the centennial of jazz icon Thelonious Monk, legendary Cuban pianists Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Chucho Valdés gave a stunning performance of the classic "Blue Monk."

The concert came to a exhilarating end with artists including pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Marcus Miller, vocalists Kurt Elling and Ivan Lins, French guitarist Marc Antoine, and Cuban percussionists Yaroldi Abreu, Adel González, Ramsés Rodriguez and Oscar Valdés performing the John Lennon anthem "Imagine."

All-Star Global Concert Finale

Established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in coordination with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, International Jazz Day is recognized on the official calendars of UNESCO and the United Nations. Each year on April 30, International Jazz Day highlights the role of jazz in promoting freedom, creativity and intercultural dialogue, and uniting people from all corners of the globe. Toyota served as Lead Partner of International Jazz Day 2017.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock are pleased to announce the sixth annual International Jazz Day, which will be celebrated worldwide on April 30, 2017.
International Jazz Day 2017 poster
The day will culminate with an All-Star Global Concert presented at the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso,
under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture of Cuba, the Cuban Institute of Music and the Cuban National Commission for UNESCO.

The musically vibrant and culturally rich city of Havana, Cuba, has been selected to serve as the 2017 Global Host City.

The concert will be live streamed by UNESCO and features an extraordinary array of artists from around the world paying tribute to the international art form of jazz.

In partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, International Jazz Day highlights the power of jazz as a force for freedom and creativity, promotes intercultural dialogue through respect and understanding, and unites people from all corners of the globe.

The All-Star Global Concert's Artistic Directors are Herbie Hancock & Chucho Valdés, with Musical Co-Directors John Beasley & Emilio Vega.

The All Star Global Concert Concert will feature stellar performances by a truly international roster of artists:

Cuba: Pancho Amat, Bobby Carcassés, Sixto Llorente, César López, Julio Padrón, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Chucho Valdés; Brazil: Ivan Lins; China: A Bu; Cameroon: Richard Bona; France: Marc Antoine; Germany: Till Brönner; Italy: Gianluca Petrella; Japan: Takuya Kuroda; Lebanon: Tarek Yamani; Mexico: Antonio Sánchez; Russia: Igor Butman; South Korea: Youn Sun Nah; Tunisia: Dhafer Youssef; United States: Ambrose Akinmusire, Carl Allen, Regina Carter, Kurt Elling, Kenny Garrett, Herbie Hancock, Antonio Hart, Marcus Miller, Christian Sands, Esperanza Spalding, Ben Williams; and others to be announced.

UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock said,

“Afro-Cuban jazz and its rich history have played a pivotal role in the evolution and enrichment of the entire jazz genre. The incomparable trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie along with beloved Cuban musicians Mario Bauzá, Machito and Chano Pozo, infused American jazz with Afro-Cuban rhythms to create a brand new, energetic sound that defined modern music. We are so pleased that Havana, Cuba, will serve as the Global Host City for International Jazz Day 2017. On behalf of the worldwide family of jazz musicians, educators and enthusiasts, I would like to thank the citizens of Havana and Cuba for their enormous support of this truly global musical art form.”

Many acclaimed musicians and educators from Cuba and around the world will participate in free jazz performances, master classes, improvisational workshops, jam sessions and community outreach initiatives. Programs will take place at schools, arts venues, community centers, jazz clubs and parks across the city of Havana and throughout Cuba beginning on Monday, April 24th and leading up to the festivities on April 30th.

Additionally, jazz history and education programs will be provided for tens of thousands of students in over 11,000 schools across Cuba. These programs will be among the thousands of International Jazz Day live performances, educational activities, and community service programs taking place in more than 190 countries on all continents.

“UNESCO is proud to be associated once again with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, as well as with the Instituto Cubano de la Música, to raise the flag for jazz, for freedom, for creativity, for diversity and for unity. 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,” declared the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is once again working with UNESCO and its field offices, national commissions, networks, associated schools, universities and institutes, public radio and public television stations, and NGOs to ensure their involvement and participation in International Jazz Day 2017.

Additionally, in countries throughout the world, libraries, schools, universities, performing arts venues, community centers, artists, and arts organizations of all disciplines will be celebrating the day through presentations, concerts, and other jazz-focused programs.

The celebration in Havana of the International Jazz Day in 2017 marks the seventieth anniversary of Cuba’s accession to UNESCO and the foundation of the National Commission for UNESCO.

The day is recognized on the official calendars of both UNESCO and the United Nations. International Jazz Day programs are made possible by Toyota, the 2017 lead partner.

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For more information about the International Jazz Day 2017 live stream, and to register events on the official website, please visit jazzday.com or unesco.org/jazzday.

For International Jazz Day events in all 50 U.S. states and in more than 190 countries on all seven continents, please click or tap here.


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