April 30, 2015 2:14 AM EDT

April 30 is International Jazz Day, and to celebrate there will be some 700 events in more than 185 countries.

The global host city this year is Paris, France and scores of top jazz performers — including Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Wayne Shorter, Lee Ritenour and Hugh Masakela — will be converging on the city to perform at an All-Star Global Concert at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

In cities all over the world and in most U.S. states, there will be jazz performances, education programs, jam sessions, workshops and discussions.

International Jazz Day is not just about the music: UNESCO recognized the day in 2011 to raise awareness of jazz as a tool for education, peace and dialogue between communities.

“In times of change and uncertainty, we need the spirit of jazz more than ever before, to bring people – especially young women and men – together, to nurture freedom and dialogue, to create new bridges of respect and understanding, for greater tolerance and cooperation,” says UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova.

The concert kicks off in Paris at 7pm local time (1pm EST).

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Write to Helen Regan at helen.regan@timeasia.com.

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