Year Developments in Jazz Historical Events
  • The ninth annual International Jazz Day is celebrated worldwide, with the Herbie Hancock Institute's annual All-Star Global Jazz Concert presented virtually (for the first time) due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Jazz clubs across the globe close (many to never reopen) and jazz festivals worldwide are cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Jazz musicians resort to performing live-stream concerts and teaching online due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington named Jazz Artist of the Year by DownBeat magazine, becoming the first female instrumentalist to be bestowed this honor.
  • COVID-19 pandemic results in over two million deaths worldwide as well as economic recession.
  • George Floyd, an African American, is killed by a Minneapolis police officer in the United States, sparking global violent protests against racism.
  • COVID-19 pandemic shuts down Summer Olympics and other sporting events.
  • Antarctica sees its highest temperature on record.
  • Joe Biden is elected President of the United States, while Kamala Harris becomes first female and person of color Vice President of the United States.
  • Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle step down from their positions as Duke and Duchess of Sussex, leaving Britain to settle in Southern California.
  • Legendary jazz pianist, jazz fusion innovator and 27-time GRAMMY Award winner Chick Corea dies of cancer.
  • Corea, Robert Glasper, Maria Schneider, Arturo O'Farrill and Jacob Collier are among the awardees in the jazz category at the 63rd annual GRAMMY Awards.
  • People around the world celebrate the 10th Anniversary of International Jazz Day, with programs in more than 190 countries and a hybrid Global Concert featuring performances in Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo, Paris, Moscow and Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Jazz saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter premieres his new operatic work Iphigenia, starring esperanza spalding in the title role.
  • On January 6, rioters storm the grounds of the United States Capitol, disrupting certification of the 2020 presidential election.
  • Myanmar's military seizes control of the government and places democratically-elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi under arrest.
  • Pope Francis and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani meet in Najaf, Iraq, the first-ever such meeting between a sitting pope and a grand ayatollah.
  • In a widely-condemned incident, Ryanair Flight 4978 is interdicted by Belarusian authorities while en route to Vilnius, Lithuania, leading to the arrest of opposition journalist Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend.
  • The Taliban retake control of Afghanistan following the withdrawal of U.S. forces, ending the decades-long War in Afghanistan.
  • The global death toll from COVID-19 surpasses 5 million.
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