Remarks for the Ari Roland Jazz Quartet Concert

Pakistan National Council of Arts, Islamabad | February 21, 2016



And fellow art and music lovers,

Assalamu Alaikum.

It is wonderful to see such a great turnout for tonight’s concert. I’m glad to see so many young people in the audience.

We are lucky to have the Ari Roland Jazz Quartet from New York City back in Pakistan. It is their third time here. On each visit they bring the American and Pakistani music worlds and the American and Pakistani people closer together.

Jazz is broad in its appeal, but one of the most purely American art forms. It developed in the southern United States in the early 20th century when African American musicians merged European and African musical influences. The result: a new, uniquely American sound.

It has a long history of integrating different musical styles, and so is the ideal art form to connect individuals and communities across cultures. Tonight, we celebrate the connecting power of music, and its way of uniting individuals and communities. We will hear a musical conversation, as American and Pakistani traditions blend.

Wynton Marsalis, one of America’s contemporary jazz greats, said of jazz, “Nothing else will ever so perfectly capture the democratic process in sound. Jazz means working things out musically with other people. You have to listen to other musicians and play with them even if you don’t agree with what they’re playing. It teaches you that the world is big enough to accommodate us all.”

We are especially pleased to have the Ari Roland Jazz Quartet join us here in February, when Americans celebrate Black History Month. Throughout this month, Americans recognize the central role African Americans have played in American history and development, and we highlight their achievements.

America’s most influential and celebrated jazz musicians have been African Americans. Names like Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane are synonymous with jazz, with the African American experience, and with great American culture.

I want to thank our partners at FACE, particularly Zeejah Fazli and Arieb Azhar [ah-REEB AHZ-har], for everything they have done to make this event possible.

I also want to thank our friends here at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts. Their support for programs like tonight’s concert demonstrates Pakistan’s commitment to connecting the world through the arts.

The American Embassy is proud to support collaborations between American and Pakistani musicians. From Daniel Pearl World Music Days each October to Dosti Music in the winter and Music Mela in the spring, music exchanges build long-lasting connections between Pakistan and America, as you will see and hear tonight.

Enjoy the show!