Since 2011, UNESCO has designated 30th April as International Jazz Day, highlighting the diplomatic and uniting forces of jazz in all corners of the globe. By its very nature, jazz requires musicians to listen closely to each other, a skill not always seen in political circles. Improvisation is not new, at least dating back to JS Bach.

You may be surprised that this international art form is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity; eradicating discrimination, fostering gender equality, and promoting freedom of expression. After all, jazz relies on listening to each other, respecting each other, and just catching the beat.

What makes jazz so magical are the internal shifts within the music, never a wrong note, always leading to imaginative diversions, progressions and return. With roots deep in the blues and Afro-American traditions, it was variously popular dance music and deep creative expression of joy, always bonding the musicians and the audience.

Events are held around the world, culminating with a globally-streamed concert, that was held in Melbourne in 2019, with major events in the Sydney Opera House.

This year, FineJazz on 2MBS Fine Music Sydney is broadcasting the award-winning series produced for 2MBS Fine Music, A History of Jazz In Australia, produce by Dr Bruce Johnson, in conjunction with his respected reference The Oxford Companion to Jazz In Australia. The twenty original episodes covered the beginnings of jazz and the early days of adoption into Australian popular bands. It is a decade-by-decade discussion of musical, political and popular influences. These episodes have been complemented by programs focussing on Australian jazz of the 1990s, the noughties, the teens, and the current decade.
LISTEN HERE from our website

Sunday at noon (AEST), Classic Jazz with Dave Mac will be celebrating International Jazz Day with a program of danceable jazz from down under. Dave will feature the music of Frank Traynor and The Jazz Preachers, Australia’s longest continuously running jazz band (1956-1985). Also you will hearthe Red Onion Jazz Band which formed in 1960 as the Gin Bottle Jazz Band, playing New Orleans inspired traditional jazz, infused with their flair for presentation and zany sense of humour.

More on A History of Jazz In Australia

Some years ago, one of our presenters, Dr Bruce Johnson, presented an award-winning series of programs on the history of jazz in Australia. He explored not only the music itself, but also the social context in which it was created. Illustrated with musical examples, some of which are rare and difficult to access, this series has been saved, restored and will be streamed as part of our FineJazz contribution to International Jazz Day.

Beginning at the start of the 20th Century, Johnson explores the local adaptations of jazz, its development during the Great Depression and World War II and beyond, and some of the musicians who have been pivotal both at home and abroad. Did you know that the Graeme Bell band helped kick-start the revival of traditional jazz in the UK and Europe in the late 1940s? Or that The Australian Jazz Quartet rivalled the Modern Jazz Quartet in the 1950s? Dave Dallwitz, Bob Barnard, Don Burrows, George Golla and James Morrison are just a few of the musicians to be heard in this immensely interesting series.

For International Jazz Day 2023, FineJazz will be streaming the entire 20 episodes of this articulate and well researched series. Available to Listen Anytime on the day. Choose your era, from the beginnings of jazz itself, the jazz visitors of the 1920s, Aussie jazz after the depression, right through to the 1980s, with some extra programs bringing it all to the 21st century. This has been complemented by four programs covering 1990s, the Noughties, the Teens, and the Now.

To read more about our International Jazz Day presentation, head to