International Jazz Day to celebrate Turkish jazz link
NEW YORK (AP) - Pianist Herbie Hancock will celebrate the special connection between Turkey and jazz music forged decades ago when the Turkish ambassador opened his residence to white and black musicians at a time when segregation held sway in the United States capital.
Hancock, a Unesco Goodwill Ambassador, is organising a gala concert with jazz stars from around the world on April 30 at the famed Hagia Irene in the outer courtyard of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, which has been designated the host city for the second annual United Nations-sanctioned International Jazz Day.
"There's an amazing history of the relationship between Turkey and jazz," Hancock told The Associated Press in a telephone interview ahead of Tuesday's official announcement of the 2013 International Jazz Day programme.
It began in the 1930s and 1940s when the two sons of Turkish Ambassador Mehmet Munir Ertegun pursued their passion for jazz by frequenting the capital's black neighbourhoods to buy "race" records not available elsewhere, and attend concerts at the Howard Theatre, a mecca for leading African-American entertainers.