NEW YORK – On April 30, the Permanent Mission of Greece at the United Nations hosted renowned jazz musician and educator Dimitri Vassilakis’ presentation Jazz Democracy, at the UN Headquarters in New York, in the Trusteeship Council Chamber Hall. The unique forum/performance showcased how jazz, this great American art form has become global and has embraced the broad democratic values that were first established in ancient Greece.
The event also explored how jazz as a universal language can teach us again how to develop dialogue in equal terms and communicate in a more humane, democratic and creative way.
Hundreds attended the events which was under the auspices of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, Hellenic Ministry of Tourism, and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, with the support and participation of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, International Association of Jazz Schools, Jazz Journalist Association, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Cincinnati, International Jazz Day- UNESCO, Thelonius Monk Institute, and April Jazz Appreciation Month established by the Smithsonian Institute.
Speakers: Ambassador Maria Theofili Permanent Representative of Greece at the UN. Dave Liebman: NEA jazz master, founder and artistic director of IASJ International Association of Schools of Jazz. Stavros Lambrinidis: European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights and ex-minister of Greek Foreign Affairs. Spike Wilner: Smalls and Mezzrow 2 historic NY jazz clubs owner and acclaimed jazz pianist. Jeff «Tain» Watts celebrated top drummer worldwide. Gil Weinberg: head of robotics and AI at Georgia Tech Music department. Collaborator of Dimitri Vassilakis for jazz mapping project. Alan Bates: Director of historic jazz label Candid Records (appeared on video). Jeanne Bresciani: director of Isadora Duncan International Institute New York IDII. Aidan Levy: jazz critic, author, Jazz Journalist Association.
Jazz Democracy International Ensemble: David Liebman, Jeff «Tain» Watts, Benito Gonzales, Essiet Essiet, Spike Wilner, Craig Bailey, Sylvia Cuenca, and international jazz musicians living and studying in New York.
Artwork by Lydia Venieri, Greek visual artist living in New York, was also included in the performance.