A dedicated band of jazz enthusiasts from Kansas City and other “cradle” cities across the country are joining forces to celebrate jazz across the country in a profound way.

The campaign, deemed “the HR-57 Initiative” will promote the connectivity of great jazz music communities – including Kansas City. It represents an opportunity to celebrate both the music and the impact the music has had on the culture of these communities and beyond, explained Anita Dixon-Brown, executive director of UNESCO Creative City – KC.

The celebration begins on Tuesday, July 19 with the “It’s Time to Swing” press conference at the Goin’ to Kansas City Plaza at 12th & Paseo, and a traveling tour of the assets of UNESCO’s proposed music economy strategies.

In 2017, Kansas City became the only UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) Creative City of Music in the United States. This highly coveted global designation has opened a flood gate of economic development opportunities through Creative Placemaking and emphasis on building a music economy such as Nashville and New Orleans enjoys, Dixon-Brown said.

“As the city that is considered to be one of the main cradles of the creation of Jazz globally, we of UNESCO-KC, our partners and musicians are gathering to demonstrate our commitment to furthering this music known worldwide and how we will make it an economic powerhouse for business, residents and all concerned,” she explained.

To provide context for the UNESCO platform, Dixon-Brown pointed to the history of jazz in America.

Jazz music formally came into existence in the interpretive exercise on classical American and European
music, but stylized with overtones from the continent of Africa, she explained.

It is widely recognized as having been born in New Orleans, however, it grew up and morphed in other cities throughout the United States, including Kansas City, Saint Louis, Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York, and Philadelphia. Along with New Orleans, these cities are widely known as the Cradles of Jazz, where the music and the journey created America’s true art form.