/ 27 April 2024

Who cares what it is? Celebrate jazz with the world

01 Jwp24 Luciano Rossetti (1)
In celebration: Susana Santos Silva (above), a Portuguese trumpeter and composer. (Luciano Rossetti)

There’s a 12-second video clip of one of the greatest jazz musicians, bassist and composer Charles Mingus (1922 to 1979), doing the social media rounds, in which the off-camera interviewer asks him: “What is jazz music?”

Mingus drags deeply on a fat cigar, frowns, slowly exhales smoke, looks down, tips the cigar, tilts his head to the right, gets a hint of a smile and drawls as one word: “I don’t know …”

Flickers a smile and with what sounds like one word again: “I don’t care,” followed by a suggestion of a chuckle. 

Twelve seconds done and many debates dealt with, just like that.

It’s almost time for International Jazz Day —  30 April — and there will be events in 190 countries where it will not be necessary to gatekeep about who and what jazz is — the players and the listeners will just enjoy it. And, like Mingus, they won’t care.

The city of Tangier, in Morocco, will serve as the global host of the 2024 edition of International Jazz Day. 

The four-day celebration in the city of Tangier from 27 to 30 April will culminate in an all-star, 35-artist (South Africa’s Mandisi Dyantyis will be one of them), global concert which will be broadcast live via YouTube, Facebook and Unesco to millions of viewers worldwide on 1 May.

This celebratory approach was taken this past weekend in Trutnov in the Czech Republic where the winners of the Jazz World Photo competition was announced. It forms part of the International Jazz Day celebrations.

The winner was Luciano Rossetti from Italy, the second place went to Siphiwe Mhlambi from South Africa and Jacek Piotrowski from Poland came third. A total of 126 photographers from 25 countries participated. 

Photographs by some of this year’s winners have appeared in the top 30 images of the competition in the past.

“Patience pays off. The experience of our winners testifies to this,” said Ivan Prokop, judge of Jazz World Photo. “All three of them have participated in our competition at least once before and placed among the best photographers in the world.”

There was no doubt about their winning works — it was all jazz. Even Mingus would have agreed.