UNESCO hosts International Jazz Day 2024 Celebration in Bangkok

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Regional Office in Bangkok has organized an unforgettable celebration of pure jazz magic for the globally recognized International Jazz Day 2024 on April 30th, 2024. 

An evening dedicated to celebrating cultural vibrancy and artistic excellence, Mr. Vichart Jirathiyut of Hitman Jazz orchestrated for the special musical program at Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok. paying homage to  a genre that transcends borders and fosters unity among individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Fireside chat with a jazz virtuoso

At the heart of this extraordinary gathering was an exclusive fireside chat with none other than Vichart Jirathiyut, who is revered as the visionary behind the prestigious record label, Hitman Jazz, and distinguished former Managing Director of EMI (Thailand) Co., Ltd. Guests had the rare opportunity to delve into the depths of his musical journey, exploring the nuances of his craft and the profound impact of jazz on both global and regional, Asia-Pacific culture.

Accompanying Jirathiyut was Soohyun Kim, Regional Director, UNESCO Regional Office in Bangkok; Honorable Robert F. Godec, U.S. Ambassador to Thailand; and Dr. Narong Prangcharoen, Dean of the College of Music at Mahidol University.

Vichart Jirathiyut, Soohyun Kim, Honorable Robert F. Godec, and Dr. Narong Prangcharoen

Together, they shared their unique perspectives, expertise, and artistic outlook on jazz and its enduring place in the lives of current and future generations, as well as its unique ability to foster intercultural understanding and peace among the world’s diverse societies.

“Jazz […] is a global treasure. It really has the power of uniting people across different cultures, backgrounds, and also languages,” according to Ms. Kim. “It doesn’t matter where we’re from. It doesn’t matter what our backgrounds are. We’re united in the audience by the songs, the melodies, but also the inspiration we get out of [these performances].”

Banner of the International Jazz Day 2024 Celebration in Bangkok

“There is so much that is extraordinarily powerful and unifying and creative and energetic about jazz,” H.E. Godec said. “I do think it is an agent of change because it also helps opens up windows that, maybe, hadn’t been there before. We see things in a different way when we experience or play or any way participate in jazz.”

Exquisite live jazz performances

Live performances of jazz music were expertly curated by Mr. Jirathiyut, featuring The Sunny Trio & Natt Buntita and Jazz Synergy. From soulful ballads to lively improvisations, each note resonated with timeless allure, inviting guests on a transcendent journey through boundless sensory realms of musical expression.

The Sunny Trio & Natt Buntita

The Sunny Trio & Natt Buntita

Sunny Trio & Natt Buntita is a special collaboration between Thailand’s top jazz artists Rattana “Sunny” Wongsansern—one of the region’s most virtuosic pianists and composers—and Thailand’s prolific and award-winning jazz vocalist Buntita “Natt” Prachamorn. 

Sunny Rattana graduated in classical piano performance with first-class honors from Chulalongkorn University. Starting out as a self-taught artist, he studied with jazz and pop pianist Nu Vudthivichai. Sunny has received first, second, and third prizes from the Thailand Jazz Competition; H.M. The King’s Trophy for the Jazz Band, Outstanding Musician Award; and the Outstanding Musician Award at the Greeley Jazz Festival, USA.

Natt Buntita, often dubbed “Thailand’s First Lady of Jazz,” is known for her incomparable musical ability with a bop-flavored, scat-singing technique. She was awarded Best Jazz Vocalist from the Thailand Jazz Competition by Silpakorn University, the premier regional jazz competition under the patronage of His Late Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej the Great.

Jazz Synergy

Jazz Synergy

Jazz Synergy is an exciting band comprising talented individuals from the esteemed Silpakorn University, led by the dynamic rhythm of Jirat Phonsangthip on drums and accompanied by the soulful melodies of Ronnakit Kridsamon on saxophone and the electrifying guitar riffs of Peerawat Decha. 

Adding to the ensemble’s allure was Chockanan Sinsadok, whose captivating vocals infused the night’s performance with emotion and depth. Anchoring the band’s sound was the skillful bassist, Benjamin Laotrakulngam. Together, Jazz Synergy delivered captivating performances that showcased their passion for jazz and dedication to musical excellence.

International Jazz Day

In the words of the great jazz artist Nina Simone, “Jazz is not just music, it is a way of life, it is a way of being, a way of thinking.” The story of jazz is written in the quest for human dignity, democracy and civil rights. It has given strength to the struggle against discrimination and racism. UNESCO believes in the power of jazz as a force for peace, dialogue and mutual understanding. This is why in November 2011, the UNESCO General Conference proclaimed 30 April as “International Jazz Day.”

This Day, now managed by the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, is intended to raise awareness of the virtues of jazz as an educational tool, and a force for empathy, dialogue, and enhanced cooperation among people. Many governments, civil society organizations, educational institutions, and private citizens currently engaged in the promotion of jazz annually embrace the Day as an opportunity to foster greater appreciation not only for the music but also for the contribution it can make to building more inclusive societies.

For more information, please visit: https://www.unesco.org/en/international-jazz-day

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