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Jazz Diplomacy Tour 1958

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From March to May in 1958, the Dave Brubeck Quartet embarked on an ambitious tour of Europe and Asia that was sponsored by the U.S. State Department. This tour was part of a "cultural ambassador" program in which the U.S. government sent prominent American musicians abroad to promote American arts and culture during the Cold War. The Brubeck Quartet's tour itinerary documents performances in Poland, Turkey, India, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), East Pakistan (Bangladesh), West Pakistan (Pakistan), Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq.

Throughout the tour, members of the Quartet interacted with local musicians and these experiences inspired the album Jazz Impressions of Eurasia. An excellent account of the State Department's use of jazz bands in cultural diplomacy can be found in the book Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War by Penny M. Von Eschen (Harvard University Press, 2004).

This digital collection consists of materials from the 1958 tour that are housed in the Brubeck Collection. It includes photographs, clippings, concert programs, and audio recordings of Brubeck's wife Iola reading the travel journal written by their ten-year-old son Darius during the tour.

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