African American music can't happen in Germany or in Italy or in Mumbai. If America disappeared off the face of the Earth today, the greatest single cultural loss would be blues, jazz, hip-hop, R&B, rock-and-roll.
I visited New York in '63, intending to move there, but I noticed that what I valued about jazz was being discarded. I ran into `out-to-lunch' free jazz, and the notion that groove was old-fashioned. All around the United States, I could see jazz becoming linear, a horn-player's world. It made me realize that we were not jazz musicians; we were territory musicians in love with all forms of African-American music. All of the musicians I loved were territory musicians, deeply into blues and gospel as well as jazz.
I'd been listening to African-American music since the first record I ever bought, which was by Sam Cooke. And it sounds more like my private thoughts that I never thought I would be able to articulate - I never thought I would be able to express publicly.