It doesn’t make a difference what culture you come from or what socio economic status that you are, music affects all people. Whether we were in the concert halls—prestigious concert halls—or whether we were at the national conservatories, or whether we were in a refugee village. You know, the reactions and the smiles and the joy from the people was the same, and that was wonderful.
I do think that it’s uniquely American, the way that we balance this freedom of expression and freedom of communication. I think those are both really core American values that have made jazz what it is. Music is the only form of art, the only form of language, that unites the world. I don’t care where you go, whatever style it is. People like good music.