People: Global day of jazz kicks off in Paris

Herbie Hancock

Associated Press files

Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock and scores of other big names in sound, rhythm and improvisation gathered Friday in Paris to celebrate a new annual event: International Jazz Day.

Hancock, a UNESCO goodwill ambassador, is the force behind the creation of a world day of jazz on April 30.

The yearly event aims to encourage people around the world to break down barriers between them using music.

"International Jazz Day is the great metaphor for international harmony," Hancock said before kicking off jazz day at UNESCO, where it gets an early start.

Things were getting groovy behind the sober concrete walls of the headquarters of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

About 400 students from Paris music conservatories and schools were taking master classes from Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Ibrahim Maalouf. Workshops, films, lectures and performances by musicians from around the world preceded an evening concert with artists including South Africa's Hugh Masekela and French-born Manu Katche.

Hancock planned to cross the Atlantic to New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, for a sunrise concert with jazz luminaries on Monday, then head to the United Nations in New York for a sunset jazz fest for diplomats that will be streamed live.

Hancock performs with his band May 6 at the Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival.

Young star excited about 'Annie'

Broadway's newest Annie is an 11-year-old from Los Angeles with long curly black hair who is already a Broadway veteran.

Lilla Crawford was unveiled Friday as the girl slated to play the title role in a fall revival of the Tony Award-winning musical "Annie."

"I'm not nervous, but I am definitely so excited to start the whole process," Crawford said. "It's going to be so fun."

Crawford, who has performed in more than a dozen shows with the Youth Academy of Dramatic Arts in her native Los Angeles, made her Broadway debut in 2011 playing Debbie in the closing cast of "Billy Elliot."

"I kind of know what's coming, but it's going to be exciting and new because I'm going to be part of the original cast," she said.

Crawford beat out more than 5,000 other girls to play Annie during a coast-to-coast search that spanned nine months.

Maestro injured in fall

Kurt Masur, the legendary former director of the New York Philharmonic, was recovering Friday in a hospital from injuries after he fell off a podium during a concert in Paris.

Masur, 84, who was conducting the National Orchestra of France on Thursday night, lost balance during a movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6.

He is expected to be released "very soon," his spokesman said.

-- From Our Press Services

Today's birthdays

Actress-singer Ann-Margret, 71; "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno, 62; actress Mary McDonnell, 59; singer-bassist Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, 59; rapper Too Short, 46; actress Bridget Moynahan, 41; actress Elisabeth Rohm ("Law and Order"), 39; actor Jorge Garcia ("Lost"), 39; actress Penelope Cruz, 38; actress Jessica Alba, 31.

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