“God has brought many things out of oppression. He has endowed hi s
creatures with the capacity to create – and from this capacity has
flowed the sweet songs of sorrow and joy that have allowed man to cope
with his environment and many different situations.
“Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life’s difficulties,
and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the
hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with
some new hope or sense of triumph. This is triumphant music.
“Modern Jazz has continued in this tradition, singing the songs of a more
complicated urban existence. When life itself offers no order and
meaning, the musician creates an order and meaning from the sounds of
the earth which flow through his instrument.
“It is no wonder that so much of the search for identity among American
Negroes was championed by Jazz musicians. Long before the modern
essayists and scholars wrote of “racial identity” as a problem for a
multi-racial world, musicians were returning to their roots to affirm
that which was stirring within their souls.
“Much of the power of our Freedom Movement in the United States has come
from this music. It has strengthened us with its sweet rhythms when
courage began to fail. It has calmed us with its rich harmonies when
spirits were down. And now, Jazz is exported to the world. For in the
particular struggle of the Negro in America there is something akin to
the universal struggle of modern man. Everybody has the Blues. Everybody
longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs
to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs for faith. In music,
especially this broad category called Jazz, there is a stepping stone
towards all of these.”