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Iranian Elections Post-Sanctions Relief; Wynton Marsalis on Race and the Role of Jazz; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired February 26, 2016 - 14:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: Iranians go to the polls for the first time since a decade of sanctions were lifted after a

nuclear deal was reached. But still, moderates seem sidelined with hardliners set to double down on their advantage. We speak to a reformist

parliamentary candidate in Tehran.

And from the winds of change to the rhythm of life, a close encounter with a legendary jazzman, Wynton Marsalis on America, race --


AMANPOUR (voice-over): -- and the power of music.


AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone. And welcome to the special weekend edition of our program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.

For the first time since Iran signed a historic nuclear deal with the West in return for lifting some of the harshest sanctions ever, the mood of the

country will be tested as the Iranian people go to the polls in a vital ballot for the future of the country and the world.

Two elections are, in fact, taking place: one for parliament, where the deck is currently stacked against the moderate President Rouhani, and

another election for the important clerical body, which appoints the head of state, the supreme leader.

But since a huge majority of moderate candidates were struck off the list, it looks like hardliners will continue to dominate parliament and the laws

and legislation that govern about everything in the country, inside and out.

President Rouhani had raised the hopes of the majority of people who want to end Iran's isolation, to have a stronger economy and to have more

personal freedoms.

In fact, he was quoted recently saying, if one faction is represented in the elections and another is not, then why are we holding elections?

A good question, indeed, which I put to Elias Hazrati, a reformist candidate from Tehran.


AMANPOUR: Mr. Hazrati, welcome to the program.

Let me start by asking you what you expect from this election.

Do you expect the hardliners to continue dominating parliament?

ELIAS HAZRATI, IRANIAN REFORMIST CANDIDATE (through translator): We expect our efforts and our group who are reformists and support moderates to get a

majority in the parliament and not allow our opponents who are opposed to the programs of the current government to get the majority.

AMANPOUR: The vast majority of the Iranian people, they support President Rouhani; they support his nuclear deal. They support opening the country

to the outside world and opening the country's economy.

They want more freedoms and more political freedom as well.

Are they likely to get that after this election?

HAZRATI (through translator): The important hope the people have from their state is to solve the economic problems. After solving the nuclear

issue and the nuclear deal, now the people are waiting to see how the government is going to solve the economic problems with the cooperation of

the next parliament.

Now our group, the reformists, and the group in moderates have come together, are trying, after the new parliament is established, with all our

ability to solve the economic issues of the country.

AMANPOUR: How hard has it been for the reformists to campaign, to put their message across?

How much hope do you have for the reformists to have a real vote in parliament after this election?

HAZRATI (through translator): The important matter for the reformists is for the people to come and participate in the ballot box to cast their


I think the reformists, alongside the moderates, are becoming successful. If a majority of the people come and participate, a slightly stronger

parliament would be established, which will cooperate to solve the internal issues of the country, the economic issues, social and cultural issues.

AMANPOUR: President Rouhani, if he gets enough of a vote in parliament for his policies, will also be able to affect the economy. And there are some

powerful interests inside Iran who have tight control over the economy and they're not necessarily willing to see it opened up.

That's a real fear, right?

HAZRATI (through translator): A strong parliament and one that has a positive interaction with the Rouhani government can put their hands

together and create a proper environment for internal investment, removing obstacles for internal production, removing economic hurdles and attracting

foreign investors and Iranians outside the country.

Unless we take action to strengthen investment and the country and attract foreign investors as well as Iranians outside the country who are capable,

we will be facing the same problems.

AMANPOUR: What would you say President Rouhani has done for Iran and for the majority, the vast majority of Iranians who elected him in 2013?

What are his successes?

HAZRATI (through translator): Mr. Rouhani had the biggest achievements. The important work of Mr. Rouhani was the nuclear file.

Confronted with a deadlock and with choosing a good and proper team, getting the support and trust of our leadership, he was able to achieve or

create an environment that the people of Iran backed the negotiations and get a good result from that.

He was able to show a picture of the resistance of the people of Iran to the world. And the world had to take their hats off to the resistance of

the Iranian people and the negotiators. This was a very positive thing.

Of course, he is also working on the economic situation. Inflation has come to 10 percent and this is a good gesture. A good economic discipline

has been created. Many splurges and embezzlements and problems, as well as other things that created economic corruptions, have been removed.

In internal issues, his speeches and good teams in the ministries and the ministers that he has chosen, all in all, there is now an atmosphere of

safety and trust, as well as security.

AMANPOUR: Mr. Hazrati, thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight.

HAZRATI: (Speaking foreign language).


AMANPOUR: And after a break, we change the beat. One of the all-time jazz greats, Wynton Marsalis, blows us all away with his incredible talent and

his unique insight.



AMANPOUR: Are you too experienced to get nervous?

WYNTON MARSALIS, MUSICIAN: No, I get nervous. I mean it's serious to me, so, you know, I get nervous. I want to sound good. I'm not too good to

sound bad.





AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Racial tensions remain high in America. From the Black Lives Matter campaign, to even the controversy over Beyonce's Black Panther-inspired

performance at the Super Bowl.

But for decades, trumpet player and jazz legend Wynton Marsalis has been raising consciences around the world.

As he said in a recent speech, "Of all that came from slavery, music is the most enduring and powerful gift. It is an inheritance, a legacy."

The first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize, he has spent years touring the world, educating and entertaining in equal measure, as he

explained recently before a performance at London's Barbican Theater.



AMANPOUR: Welcome, Wynton Marsalis, what an entrance.

MARSALIS: Yes, ma'am.

AMANPOUR: So since you started with your trumpet, I want to know why, as the big cheese of your band, the leader of your band, you still sit in the

back row, right?

In the trumpet section. You don't conduct, you're not taking center stage.


MARSALIS: Well, I'm not a conductor, first. I'm a terrible conductor. So it's -- and I love playing trumpet. And my part, I'm a fourth trumpet

part. My music's very democratic. And that's the best place for me.


AMANPOUR: You have said publicly that the fantastic thing about jazz, one of the fantastic things, is that it's so improvisational, so collaborative

and, therefore, so democratic.

And one critical observer has written, "Here's what Marsalis is preaching, if we could learn how to jam better together, if we could listen more

acutely to what the masters were teaching us back in the day, we would achieve a more democratically progressive society. That is the higher

ground that jazz can take us to."


MARSALIS: Yes, jazz takes us to the higher ground, when we understand, there's the freedom and there's the improvisation. That's the one part

that's the most fun to talk about.

But there's adherence to some type of form. And when you play inside of the swing rhythm, which is the fundamental rhythm of jazz, the rhythm is

evolving on every beat.

You listen, we improvise, but we agree on a fundamental form that allows us to converse across cultures. So if I'm anywhere in the world, and I go on

a bandstand, so I say what you going to play, if I say blues, that means a specific set of harmonies and a specific rhythm.

AMANPOUR: Can you do a little there?

MARSALIS: Well, I can play some blues but without the rhythm section, it's like...


MARSALIS: So it combines --

AMANPOUR: Beautiful.

I have to ask you, we live in a very tense society in the United States right now, the Black Lives Matter movement, the fact that, after nearly

eight years, there's still so much opposition to the first black President of the United States.

MARSALIS: Well, I did a record maybe 10 years ago called, "From the Plantation to the Penitentiary." And I was talking about it, much of what

we see comes from the minstrel show.

Much of rap, hip-hop, many styles that evolved, they take minstrel images and they continue in much of rock. Many of these things are all together,

like if you take the minstrel show itself in the 19th century, black people -- white people imitating black people imitating white people imitating

black people imitating white people.

And we still are doing that same thing, like it's the same desire to use racial things and to use them as a way to get traction and friction but

never to actually deal with the underlying realities of just tribalism in general.

The one advantage of jazz is that, in jazz, it's the only thing that was integrated in trying to be integrated in the 1920s, '30s, '40s of America.

And we have great figures of all races, Benny Goodman, we have Dave Brubeck, all kind of civil -- Benny Goodman was the first integrated groups

in the 20th century.

With jazz, it was always in the forefront of a kind of freedom movement. So I continue in that tradition. Like I said, I'm a child of the civil

rights movement. I believe in equality.

AMANPOUR: What do you think of some of the criticism or the commentary that surrounded Beyonce's Super Bowl halftime performance, the political


You talk about the difference between jazz and hip-hop and the rest but it's that hip-hop which seems to be the anthem for today's black protests

and civil rights.

MARSALIS: Right. But that's because, because, the true development of the civil rights movement is something that's much deeper than the reiteration

of populist cliches.

So the symbolism of black for this reason, OK, it's OK, it cost those guys their lives.

But I think that it's like if something's on Twitter for 24 hours and then they're on to the next subject of a sensationalism, I'm more serious about

the issues and the subjects and so I'm not -- therefore not against what any person does, be it Beyonce or Kanye West or whoever it is.

You know, everybody has a right. I like to see people talk about some type of issue.

But the seriousness of these issues require a lifetime of dedication to them.

AMANPOUR: You've also said, for some, slavery is a more lucrative and sustainable story, while freedom remains as a hard-fought thing for all.

MARSALIS: Yes, it's very hard. That's why it's much easier --

AMANPOUR: So are you saying people spend too much time looking back?

MARSALIS: No. I'm saying that people want to be slaves. People want to be slaves. People want to have slaves. People want to exploit the work of

people for nothing. People want to call themselves pejorative names for the entertainment of a larger group of people.

People want to take their clothes off so people can see, they want to exhibit. They want to accept less of and present less of their humanity to

be liked.

It's hard-fought. You have to be critiqued, not necessarily as for what you are for a long time --


MARSALIS: You would rather get on stage and call people niggers and do this and that. It's in the DNA. And we're talking about in the context of

American culture. That's the culture that I know and am qualified to speak about publicly.

But having traveled the world, it's in world culture. Whoever that group is that's called upon to get up on the lunch table and take their clothes

off and dance and act a fool for the entertainment of everybody else, those people will want to do that because they want that majority to put their

hand on them and say, hey, you're all right.

And that could be women in some instances, it could be some tribal name or group that you don't know who they are.

There are many different people who fall in this -- it could be you and your family who's called upon to be the funny one or the fat kid who's

funny or the person who has a handicap that makes fun of themselves or the person who's it comes in the form of many names but it's the same thing.

It's a desire to alter who you actually are to be liked and to fall into an archetype that's ultimately destructive for you. And our music is the

opposite of that.

AMANPOUR: And to that end, you've also said that it's a shame not more money and attention is paid for cultural education because you've said,

it's not just music and an art, it's fun, it's about who we are.

MARSALIS: Because yes, when you address these issues, you're serious. So I'm getting on my vibe, I'm serious about it. I'm talking to you. So i

understand -- and of course the respect I have for you comes out, bring that.

But most of the time, we joke around and playing and clowning and having a good time. And the playing field is larger when you get into the arts

across the world. There's been great artists across time and their art, their work is timeless because they've thought deeply on these things.

AMANPOUR: We met and we interviewed Joey Alexander, the young prodigy from Indonesia. And I'm going to play a little bit of what we saw.




AMANPOUR: You are his mentor and you have really helped him along.

What is it that makes him so special?

Is he just special for a 12-year old?

Is he special in the world of jazz?

MARSALIS: Jazz has never had a person who could play on his level of sophistication as a kid. Our music is adult music. So we don't have a

string of prodigies or kind of Mozart person who at 8 or 9 could play. He's the first person I know of that plays with that degree of



AMANPOUR: It must actually be something quite phenomenal that you spend your life giving joy to the world.

MARSALIS: It's such a deep blessing for me. For instance, to play with my unbelievable band. That's first of all, never has there been a band like



MARSALIS: The type of dedication and belief in the mission that is all for them and the leadership and mentorship that I have had and to be able to

play for people is deeper than a blessing.

Like a level of gratitude, I try, I can't express it as much in words but try to show it in the way that I play and the type of humility I address

each person that comes to me and as I grow, I try to become more humble and to become more grateful because, for me, it is truly something I could not

have imagined.

And I'm deeply, deeply grateful and blessed by it.

AMANPOUR: So are we. Wynton Marsalis, thank you very much.

MARSALIS: Yes, ma'am, thank you so much. Thank you.



AMANPOUR: And up next, an unexpected tempo in the rhythm of life. Imagine a world where a human gynecologist ends up in a pretty hairy situation at

the local zoo. It's a girl, it's a gorilla, it's both. That's next.





AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world going ape over a gorilla.

In Bristol, England, a local zoo has welcomed a new resident; weighing in at just 2 pounds, this baby girl Western Lowland gorilla is a new addition

to the rare species. And what's even rarer is the way she came into the world, by Caesarean.

Her mother, named Kera, was suffering potentially fatal preeclampsia, so zoo staff took the extraordinary measure of bringing in a medical doctor,

David Cahill, who usually treats humans. But it was OK; he'd brushed up on gorilla anatomy in the morning. And by the end of the day, he and a vet

had delivered the tiny gorilla.


PROF. DAVID CAHILL, GORILLA OBSTETRICIAN: On this bed here where we're standing by was the one where we delivered her. And clearly, she's quite

different to delivering a human mother.

But in terms of when the operation starts and when we went through it, actually, it was very similar, the tissues are very much the same and all

the things that we did were just like what we did if you were doing a Caesarean section on a human.


AMANPOUR: Things got a bit hairy to begin with. The tiny baby gorilla had to be resuscitated after the birth. But 11 days on, the little girl has

been swinging from strength to strength and should be reunited with the tribe before too long.

And that's it for our program tonight. Remember you can now listen to our podcast, see us online at and follow me on Facebook and

Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.