The Jazz Ambassadors - Film Screening/Scannán

The Jazz Ambassadors tells the little-known story of when America deployed jazz legends like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and Benny Goodman, along with their mixed-race bands, to fight on the frontlines of the Cold War.

Desperate to find a way of countering the USSR propaganda about racism and inequality in the United States, congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. convinced President Eisenhower that jazz was the best way to fight back in the cultural conflict. The flip side was that this US government scheme inadvertently wound up giving the Civil Rights Movement a voice on the world stage when it most needed one, while posing serious moral dilemmas for many of the musicians - how could they represent the US abroad as a peaceful tolerant society when they knew that Jim Crow segregation was still on the statute books of the Southern States?

Drawing on an incredible performance archive, photos, radio clips and detailed personal accounts of the tours, the film immerses viewers in this thrilling journey, accompanied by a truly swinging soundtrack.