I started playing with a group of young people when I was 13. I turned professional when I was 15 and I played dance halls, this on bass guitar.
To me, at its best, that's what art should do, perform both the emotional and intellectual function.
I think that what is important is that the music be honest and direct and that it is relevant to today. I think music needs to be of its time and speak to that time.
In fact, jazz has such a great feeling and great emotional content that it really doesn't require you to have technical understanding of it. I think you just have to allow your feelings to go with the music and you will find yourself carried along by it fairly quickly.
All of the musicians when I was young used to always say you had to tell a story when you're a musician.