International Jazz Day - A Flashback to Juan les Pins

Today is International Jazz Day!


Jazz a Juan 2019 - Juan les Pins - France

According to International Jazz Day “is intended to promote peace, diversity, respect among the various cultures and highlights the needs for human rights and dignity. The music itself addresses the desire for eliminating discrimination and promoting the freedom of expression. Youth are also encouraged to participate by enacting change and helping to foster gender equality. One will have the chance to experience how much life and love emerges when the day kicks off, and musicians from all over begin to jam and play their music.”

Today’s hardship due to the Covid 19 pandemic all the more emphasizes the need for music of all kinds as a way to unite and help each other but also as a means to forget and relax every now and then!

A little History of International Jazz Day

According to it all began in 2011 when the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization declared International Jazz Day as an opportunity to give recognition to jazz music and state its role to unite people all around the globe. It’s been going strong ever since and people look forward to this day each year when music lovers from around the world can share in the experience of listening to and making jazz music.

I must admit, yesterday was only the first time I’d heard of International Jazz Day. But it struck a cord.

Why Do I care?

Jazz a Juan 2019 - Juan les Pins - France

Why did the idea of International Jazz day strike a cord with me? Maybe it is the fact that I am a musician (just an amateur, nothing fancy) playing the drums and a little guitar. Playing those instruments satisfies a need to get rid of stress, frustration and sometimes anger. Mostly caused by so much negative stuff happening around the world, of course exacerbated by the Covid 19 Pandemic. I barely watch the Nightly News anymore as it is 99% misery, even a goldfish would get depressed over time. Instead, I just grab the guitar and play “My Sweet Lord”, or play the drums to “Get Ready” by Rare Earth.

The cord that it struck with me goes back further and deeper however. Aside from my musical endeavors (some would call them struggles), the main reason why International Jazz Day struck a cord with me is because when I grew up in the 70’s and the 80’s I was extremely lucky and privileged to watch the Juan les PinsJazz a Juan” jazz festival for many years. Mid to late July we would be sitting on our balcony of the apartment next to the Jazz grounds, overlooking the stage at a perfect angle, watching global superstars perform, while we were having dinner and casual conversations. Then….it was great, but today, looking back it was more than great, it was special and I was watching history being made.

After the concerts, we would walk into the park next to us, towards the stage and stands, to go behind the scenes and see what superstar we could meet. Or in the afternoons when we were on the beach, behind the stage, we would observe or meet celebrities like Al Jarreau, Michel Legrand and others who would come for lunch and sometimes practice their voices.

Over the years I have seen many Jazz and other musicians like Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, James Brown, Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles and many more. I was lucky and privileged to meet Ella Fitzgerald, after what I still consider the best Jazz concert I have ever seen, and Al Jarreau on the beach in Juan les Pin in the South of France.

Trip Down Memory Lane

Jazz a Juan 2019 - Candy Dulfer - Juan les Pins - France

The last trip I took before the Covid 19 pandemic hit was back to Juan les Pins, fittingly in July 2019 after 40 years, to see that years’ “Jazz a Juan”. Among the headliners were Candy Dulfer and Diana Krall. It turned out to be a magical evening of music and laughter. The fact that I was back where I grew up during the summers, with my parents, my brothers and lots and lots of friends puts things on this International Jazz Day, while enduring the Covid 19 pandemic, in perspective.

The above picture can be purchased for commemoration on canvas or on a mug on our special collections page. 

I can’t wait to go outside again and live life to the fullest. No doubt it will improve both my personal life as well as my business life.

Final thoughts
So Jazz music and music as a whole has left an indelible mark on me on which I look back with fondness and gratitude. And music, including Jazz music, still goes to my soul and helps me through both the good and bad times.

Nowadays, I listen to music all day. The perfect radio station for that is RadioTunes. I listen to oldies in the morning, salsa around lunch time followed by some meditation music before getting back to work. In the afternoon I play 70’s and 80’s music until I need a boost from Disco music late afternoon, after which I finish off my working day with Coffee Jazz and finally before calling it a day with Smooth Jazz.

Happy International Jazz Day!

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