Year Developments in Jazz Historical Events
  • International Jazz Day is established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.
  • Bassist Esperanza Spalding wins the GRAMMY Award for Best New Artist on the strength of her 2010 release Chamber Music Society, the first and only jazz artist to have received that honor.
  • San Francisco, California jazz presenter SFJAZZ Collective breaks ground on the $60 million SFJazz Center.
  • Jazz at Lincoln Center announces plans to open overseas venues in Doha, Qatar and four other cities.
  • American jazz drummer Paul Motian dies at age 80.
  • Estonia becomes the 17th country to join the Eurozone.
  • The government of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali falls, becoming the first casualty of the pro-democracy Arab Spring protest movement.
  • The arrests of 15 youths in Daraa, Syria trigger peaceful protests throughout the country, setting the stage for the Syrian Civil War.
  • An estimated two billion people watch the wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London.
  • U.S. Navy Seals take down terrorist Osama Bin Laden.
  • Inaugural International Jazz Day celebration, presented and produced by the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz in conjunction with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), takes place in three parts: UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, Congo Square in New Orleans, and the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York City.
  • The Torino Jazz Festival celebrates its inaugural edition.
  • Pat Metheny releases his album Unity Band featuring saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist Ben Williams and drummer Antonio Sánchez. The album would net Metheny his 20th GRAMMY Award the following year.
  • After 70 years at its original location, legendary Harlem jazz club Lenox Lounge closes its doors due to rent increases.
  • UNESCO names Danilo Pérez an Artist for Peace, recognizing his efforts to provide music education programs for poverty-stricken children in his native Panama.
  • Washington and Colorado legalize marijuana.
  • The Italian-flagged cruise ship Costa Concordia sinks off of the coast of Tuscany, resulting in 32 deaths and one of the biggest maritime salvage operations in history.
  • Privatization of space begins.
  • The Encyclopædia Britannica discontinues its print edition after nearly 250 years.
  • Former Liberian President Charles Taylor is found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone.
  • Hurricane Sandy is the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, killing over 200 people and inflicting nearly $70 billion in damage.
  • Claude Nobs, founder and longtime general manager of the renowned Montreux Jazz Festival, dies at age 77.
  • The second annual celebration of International Jazz Day takes place in Istanbul, Turkey, culminating in a spectacular concert at the Hagia Irene Eastern Orthodox church and historical site.
  • Jazz Fest Wien in Vienna, Austria celebrates its 25th anniversary.
  • Melissa Aldana becomes the first ever woman instrumentalist to win the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Competition at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
  • Storied pianist, composer and educator Mulgrew Miller dies at age 57.
  • Benedict XVI becomes the first pope to resign since 1415.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Defense of Marriage Act, paving the way for federal recognition of same-sex marriage in the United States.
  • Researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University describe the first production of human embryonic stem cells by cloning in the scientific journal Nature.
  • A triptych by British painter Francis Bacon, titled Three Studies of Lucian Freud, sells for $142.4 million at auction, setting a world record.
  • Third annual International Jazz Day celebration takes place in Osaka, Japan, with satellite programs in 196 countries. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station join the festivities with a message of peace and goodwill to those celebrating around the world.
  • Charlie Haden, American double bassist who introduced new harmonic concepts for jazz bass, dies at age 77.
  • Pianist and Hard Bop pioneer Horace Silver dies at age 86.
  • Legendary vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson releases his final album, Enjoy the View, on Blue Note, featuring alto saxophonist David Sanborn, organist Joey DeFrancesco and drummer Billy Hart.
  • The three-year West African Ebola virus epidemic begins, causing major loss of life and economic disruption in the region.
  • The European Space Agency’s unmanned Rosetta spacecraft successfully lands its Philae probe on Comet 67P, the first time in history that a spacecraft has landed on such an object.
  • The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change releases the final part of its Fifth Assessment Report, warning that the world faces "severe, pervasive and irreversible" damage from global emissions of carbon dioxide.
  • The police shooting of Michael Brown, an African American, occurs in Ferguson, Missouri, triggering widespread riots.
  • American computer scientist Alan Eustace sets a world record for the highest and longest free fall jump from 135,908 feet (41.425 km) over Roswell, New Mexico, United States, breaking the sound barrier without any machine assistance.
  • The fourth annual International Jazz Day is celebrated worldwide, with Global Host celebrations taking place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (France) and throughout the city.
  • Clark Terry, legendary American trumpeter and jazz pioneer, dies at age 94.
  • Jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves wins the GRAMMY for Best Jazz Vocal Album for her 2014 record "Beautiful Life"
  • Free jazz innovator and Pulitzer Prize winner Ornette Coleman dies at age 85.
  • The Gorkha earthquake and its aftershocks cause over 9,000 deaths in Nepal, India, China and Bangladesh, leave hundreds of thousands homeless and destroy many UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • The Republic of Cuba and the United States reestablish full diplomatic relations, ending more than half a century of hostility between the two nations.
  • SpaceX, a private space exploration company, lands an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket, the first reusable rocket to successfully enter orbital space and return.
  • The Montreux Jazz Festival celebrates its 50th edition.
  • English rock icon David Bowie releases his 25th and final studio album, Blackstar, featuring heavy jazz influences and a backing band comprised of jazz musicians Donnie McCaslin (saxophone), Jason Lindner (piano), Tim Lefebvre (bass), Mark Giuliana (drummer) and Ben Monder (guitar). Bowie dies of liver cancer two days after the album's release.
  • International Jazz Day celebrates its fifth anniversary with an All-Star Global Concert at the White House in Washington, D.C. and the first jazz network television special to be hosted by a U.S. President.
  • Gato Barbieri, tenor saxophonist and giant of Argentine jazz, dies at age 83.
  • Donald J. Trump is elected the 45th President of the United States.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama visits Cuba, the first trip to the island nation by a sitting U.S. head of state since Calvin Coolidge visited in 1928.
  • The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) sign an historic peace treaty, officially ending more than 50 years of armed conflict.
  • The United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union in a referendum, initiating the politically fraught process of "Brexit."
  • International Jazz Day Global Host celebrations take place in Havana, Cuba, with a culminating Global Concert at the Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso, the first time the event is hosted in the Caribbean.
  • Al Jarreau, iconic jazz and pop vocalist, dies at age 76.
  • The 35th NEA Jazz Masters are awarded, recognizing vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, jazz historian and journalist Ira Gitler, bassist Dave Holland, pianist Dick Hyman and organist Lonnie Smith.
  • Pioneering American jazz pianist, scholar and educator Geri Allen dies at age 60.
  • Computers in more than 150 countries around the world are impacted by the WannaCry ransomware attack, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.
  • Montenegro joins NATO as the organization's 29th member.
  • The United States announces its decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
  • The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant destroys the centuries-old Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, Iraq.
  • North Korea successfully tests its first intercontinental ballistic missile.
  • Saint Petersburg, Russia hosts International Jazz Day 2018, with education programs and performances across the city and an All-Star Global Concert at the historic Mariinsky Theatre.
  • The Thelonious Monk Institute International Competition resumes after a two-year hiatus, with Israeli pianist Tom Oren receiving first place honors, a $25,000 winner's purse and a recording contract with Concord Music. The Institute, which has presented the Competition for over 30 years, announces that it will change its name to the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz effective in 2019.
  • Keith Jarrett releases "After the Fall," a recording of a concert originally recorded in 1998 following Jarrett's lengthy battle with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • American jazz trio The Bad Plus release their thirteenth studio album, "Never Stop II," the group's first featuring pianist Orrin Evans.
  • North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald J. Trump meet at the Singapore Summit, the first such encounter between the leader of North Korea and a sitting U.S. President.
  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the European Union's landmark privacy regime, goes into effect.
  • Prince Harry's marriage to Meghan Markle draws a global viewership of nearly two billion worldwide.
  • Saudi Arabia allows women to drive.
  • Eritrea and Ethiopia officially announce an end to their decades-long border conflict
  • The eighth annual International Jazz Day is celebrated worldwide, with Global Host festivities divided between Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.
  • Vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant is named Jazz Artist of the Year by DownBeat magazine.
  • The 37th NEA Jazz Masters are awarded, recognizing jazz historian/author Stanley Crouch, vocalist Bob Dorough, pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, and composer/arranger Maria Schneider.
  • The ongoing political crisis in Venezuela deepens as the country's National Assembly challenges the legitimacy of sitting president Nicolás Maduro's reelection, declaring opposition leader Juan Guaidó the interim president.
  • Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashes en route to Nairobi, killing all 157 on board and resulting in the worldwide grounding of all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
  • 51 people are killed in terrorist attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, prompting global calls for increased focus on combating violent extremism online.
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