Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 8, 2010

The U.S. Department of State is proud to join Meridian International Center to highlight one of the most successful public diplomacy programs of our time, the Jazz Ambassadors. Fifty years of musical diplomacy will be celebrated with a reception at Meridian House (1630 Crescent Place NW, Washington, DC 20009) on Friday, April 9, from 7p.m. to 9 p.m.

Guests will have the opportunity to see firsthand some of the outstanding photographs of the original Jazz Ambassadors, part of the traveling exhibition – Jam Session: America’s Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World. The reception will also feature performances by talented young jazz musicians – the jazz greats of tomorrow.

From the mid-1950s through the 1970s, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and other well-known American jazz musicians served as “Jazz Ambassadors.” They toured through more than 35 countries in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, playing their world-famous music and promoting a positive view of the United States at a time when Cold War tensions were at their height.

The photographs in the Jam Session traveling exhibition capture these legends at work and at play, evoking memories of that time and underscoring the relevance of jazz as a musical tradition that speaks volumes about American values.

The young musicians performing at the reception range in age from 9 to 20, and will travel from as far away as Washington State to be part of this event, passing the torch to a new generation of jazz artists and music lovers.

For additional information contact:

David C. Grier, 202-632-9366 or
Laura Tischler, 202-632-6454 or

PRN: 2010/402