The U.S. Embassy funded the visit of The Ari Roland Quartet (ARQ) from June 4-10, and sponsored a series of concerts and workshops in both Dushanbe and Gharm. The musicians not only performed their unique American musical form for Tajik audiences, but collaborated with Tajik masters and students.
ARQ began their program in Dushanbe with a jam session with local musicians at the Bactria Cultural Center the evening of June 4. On June 5, they taught a series of jazz standards to the talented young musicians of Music School #6 in preparation for a June 6 collaborative concert at the Tajik National Conservatory. On the evening of June 6, ARQ joined a local jazz band at a jazz club for a two-hour jam session where they played to a packed house.
On June 7, the group traveled to Gharm, where they played at the Gharm Cultural Center for the participants of the U.S. Embassy’s Access English Microscholarship class, which provides free English language classes for disadvantaged youth. The students then returned the favor and sang the Tajik National Anthem, the Star Spangled Banner, and Jingle Bells and asked questions about the band’s instruments and jazz music. The following day ARQ played a public concert together with a local Tajik band. Many of the people of Gharm had never heard jazz before. Some of them were even dancing in the aisles.