Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War

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Video File

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In “Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War,” part of the Higgins’ African American Intellectual Culture Series, Von Eschen will relate how, from 1956 through the late 1970s, America dispatched its finest jazz musicians abroad in order to win the hearts and minds of developing nations and to counter perceptions of American racism. She will focus on the early years of the tours, as Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and other jazz luminaries spread their music and their ideas further than the State Department anticipated. Her talk explores the freedom afforded by creativity, music, and mobility and how jazz both served and challenged political notions of freedom.


Penny M. Von Eschen

Higgins School of Humanities

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