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You could be waiting for a train at South Station, sitting in a Boston hotel lobby, getting a morning coffee at your local café, or walking across a college campus.
Don’t be surprised to hear live jazz springing up in unusual places – the 6th annual Jazz Week is taking place in greater Boston from April 27 through May 6, 2012, with hundreds of jazz events taking place in 90 venues around the city.
The official theme of this year’s Jazz Week is international jazz, in alliance with UNESCO’s International Jazz Day taking place on April 30. Plus, Boston is a virtual United Nations, after all, with 140 languages spoken here. In fact, jazz is often referred to as an international language because of its ability to reach across cultural, racial, and national boundaries.
Boston – and indeed Massachusetts – is a longtime mecca for jazz musicians, composers, producers, and students from around the world. Part of the attraction is the number of outstanding jazz studies programs at schools like Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and dozens of other colleges and universities.
Governor Deval Patrick, whose father Pat Patrick was a well-known jazz saxophonist, proclaimed April 2012 as Jazz Month in Massachusetts, acknowledging the Bay State’s illustrious heritage as a jazz state. Also, the Smithsonian organizes Jazz Appreciation Month each April.
And Massachusetts is possibly the only state in America whose tourism agency actively promotes jazz year round to the convention and visitors industry. The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism helped launch MassJazz in 2009 to promote the state’s many jazz festivals, concerts, campus events, and other jazz activities taking place from Boston to the Berkshires, from Cape Cod to the Merrimack Valley and everywhere in between.
The vitality of the Massachusetts jazz scene is underscored by the fact that four brand new jazz festivals are starting up this year across the Commonwealth, in New Bedford, Rockport, Lee, and Amherst. Check out the 2012 schedule of Massachusetts jazz festivals.
Enjoy Jazz Week in greater Boston through May 6, and jazz all year round in Massachusetts!
Michael Quinlin is founder and director of MassJazz, and publisher of the annual MassJazz Travel Guide. He sends out a daily blog on jazz events taking place in Massachusetts, focusing on both international artists coming to town, as well as great local acts playing in cities and towns across the Bay State.