Jimmy Owens: I’ve noticed that in my travels and performances all over the world, that the people, when they hear great jazz perform, they love it, and it’s just like a heartbeat, that you have to have that kind of performance wherever you are, whether it’s Japan or a number of places that I don’t feel that I will ever be able to go back to perform -- Pakistan, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel -- many places that have so much turmoil happening. But when the music was being performed, and it was great jazz, the people loved it, and our heartbeats became one. I was telling someone the other day, I just did some concerts in Paraguay. I was telling people down there that I had performed in Managua, Nicaragua. And I started the concert with a spiritual: Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen. And as I started to play it, all of a sudden, I heard people singing with me, and then finally the whole audience started to sing this melody. It brought tears to me. I started to cry. My musicians were shocked, because we had never seen or heard anything like that in the places that we were performing. It was a wonderful experience, and to know that this music that we perform is felt all over the world, it’s like a heartbeat.
In this excerpt from the podcast, Owens explains why he calls jazz ”the heartbeat of the world.” [1:33]