Mayor David Ortega of Scottsdale, Mayor Corey D. Woods of Tempe, and Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner of Paradise Valley have all united for the upcoming Scottsdale Jazz festival. The Arizona State legislature introduced a bill by representatives Bolding, Powers Hannley, and Rodriguez which would recognize April 30th as International Jazz Day, and proclaimed April as Jazz appreciation month in the state of Arizona. This yearly tradition honors the legendary work of Herbie Hancock and many other great Jazz musicians. The new law emphasizes that the Smithsonian Institution created Jazz Appreciation Month in 2011 as an opportunity for people to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz music for the entire month of April.
In 2013, William “Doc” Jones created the International Jazz Day AZ Festival and would go on to create the International Jazz Day AZ Foundation, which has been a 501-C3 nonprofit organization, since, 2015. Doc Jones has stated that the mission of Jazz Day AZ is to produce concerts and events that would bring attention to tourism in the state of Arizona and bring attention to the importance of arts in education. Funds from the event have gone on to sponsor smaller organizations like NextStudent Academy, Academy of Excellence, and the Onyx Summer music program. Due to the pandemic, they have added on the mission to build affordable housing for creative artists.
The mission of promoting tourism in the great state of Arizona has been on the minds of Mayors Ortega, Woods, and Bien-Wilner. In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic caused that year’s Jazz Day event to be held virtually. The following year, on April 30th, 2021 the event was also streamed live across the world, and hosted by actor Michael Douglas. This was an exciting year, as the festival celebrated its 10-year anniversary, and included amazing performances from Herbie Hancock, as well as Marcus Miller, Andra Day, Dee Dee Bridgewater, John McLaughlin, Dianne Reeves, and Joe Lovano. Preparations have started on 2022’s Jazz Day AZ, held at The Scottsdale Center For the Arts on April 30th, from 1-9 pm. It will be nearly two years since the pandemic has been upon us, and the spread of vaccinations has made it an extremely promising and exciting time to begin the planning process in hope of yet again, a successful event.
The promise of 2022’s Jazz Day AZ has begun and has prompted these three incredible Mayor to form the International Jazz Day coalition. They’ve chosen to come together and see to it that this year’s festival not only happens but may very well be Arizona’s best Jazz Festival yet. They understand the importance Jazz Day has meant to not only their great state but to the hundreds of other countries and states that come together and celebrate the important history of Jazz. It’s a well-known fact that jazz music may have started in America, however, it has grown and influenced the world. Jazz is more than just music, it’s also an international art form. It celebrates diversity, human rights, and promotes peace while connecting different cultures. Jazz music has always promoted freedom of expression, which is a powerful message to be teaching the next generation. The international Jazz festival is not only there for fans of jazz, but also for the next generation that may be feeling lost or misunderstood. Giving them a sense of hope, identity, and tribe.
While the Jazz Day AZ is held each year on April 30th, the whole month of April is Jazz appreciation month in Arizona. This means that the state of Arizona is not only open for celebrations for one day, it’s open all month to come together and celebrate. The three mayors of the cities of Tempe, Paradise Valley, and Scottsdale (which holds the festival) know this and have formed their own International Jazz Day Coalition. Their mission is to extend tourism in their state of Arizona not just for one day, but for the whole month of April. The upcoming event will mark the 11th year of Jazz Day AZ, and is the perfect time to promote tourism, seeing that Super Bowl LVII will be held on February 5, 2023, at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. It’s an honor for the state of Arizona to hold 2023’s Superbowl and a reason that the Mayor’s Coalition is working hard to come together to promote their respective cities and state.
They are not only working together but also are receiving help from city managers, Arizona Tourism, and citizens. They are developing an agenda and creating a plan of action to benefit from the success of Jazz Day, which will not only see tourism for that day but extend it as long as possible. The hope is to overcome the devastating effects that COVID-19 has dealt Arizona, and be able to get tourism in the state back to where it once was. The Coalition will utilize a wide range of methods, from establishing task forces to drafting legislation to pass a bill that declares April 30th a non-official holiday. After all, it was a simple bill, HCR 2017, that was drafted and passed, declaring the whole month of April in Arizona to become Jazz Appreciation Month. Utilizing the whole month of April for celebrations can be a great way to expand tourism in Arizona, and move past the effects of COVID-19.