July 9, 2019, Ashgabat – American jazz group the Ari Roland Jazz Quartet completed its tour in Turkmenistan, treating audiences in Ashgabat to a concert and jam session with local artists from Turkmenistan. The Quartet visited Turkmenistan June 26 – July 3, 2019, for a series of workshops and concerts, reaching around 1600 people.
Ambassador Matt Klimow, who arrived in Turkmenistan June 26, provided opening remarks at the concert. “Jazz,” he said, “is more than just music. It’s more than just art. American jazz can change the way you feel, and it can change the way you think.”
While in Turkmenistan, the ensemble performed at three public concerts in Mary, Turkmenabat, and Ashgabat. They also delivered presentation on the history of jazz music at the American Center in Ashgabat and gave an informal jazz jam session. Their concert in Ashgabat featured a mix of American jazz music and Turkmen music, with joint performances by the Ari Roland Jazz Quartet and Turkmen musicians.
The following Quartet members performed in Turkmenistan:
- Mr. Ari Roland (double bass)
- Mr. Zaid Nassar (alto saxophone)
- Mr. Chris Byars (tenor saxophone)
- Mr. Keith Balla (drums)
Performing together since 1987, the Quartet plays music inspired by American jazz masters, including Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie. Since 2007, the Quartet has completed over 140 cultural exchange programs to countries the world, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The Ari Roland Jazz Quartet has visited Turkmenistan seven times since 2007, performing extensively with Turkmen musicians and recording a CD of Turkmen and American music.
For more information about this program, please contact the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat at 47-35-06 (1) or e-mail AmericanCenterAshgabat@state.gov.