Louis Armstrong is quite simply the most important person in American music. He is to 20th century music (I did not say jazz) what Einstein is to physics.
The genius of our country is improvisation, and jazz reflects that. It's our great contribution to the arts.
By its very nature, no one person can ever be the center of Jazz.
Jazz is a very accurate, curiously accurate accompaniment to 20th century America.
A jazz beat is a dynamic changing rhythm.
I have made a film about jazz that tries to look through jazz to see what it tells us about who we are as a people. I think that jazz is a spectacularly accurate model of democracy and a kind of look into our redemptive future possibilities.
I read cover to cover every jazz publication that I could and in the New York Times, every single day reading their jazz reviews even though I didn't put them in the films. I wanted to know what is going on.
The stories from 1975 on are not finished and there is no resolve. I could spend 50 hours on the last 25 years of jazz and still not do it justice.
We're having a hard time understanding where jazz is going. What happened to jazz?
The only art form that Americans have created that's recognized around the world is jazz music born in a community that had the peculiar experience of being unfree in a free land.
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