THE REAL AMBASSADORS:
Dave and Iloa Brubeck & Louis Armstrong
is recommended by NORMAN WARWICK
Keith Hatschek tells the story of three determined artists: Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, and Iola Brubeck and the stand they took against segregation by writing and performing a jazz musical titled The Real Ambassadors.
First conceived by the Brubecks (Dave and Iola, left) in 1956, the musical found a stage for its 1962 premiere. The narrative tracks extraordinary twists and turns across the backdrop of the civil rights movement. A variety of colourful characters, from Broadway impresarios to gang-connected managers, surfaces in the compelling storyline.
During the Cold War, the US State Department enlisted some of America’s greatest musicians to serve as jazz ambassadors, touring the world to trumpet a so-called “free society.” Honoured as celebrities abroad, the jazz ambassadors, who were overwhelmingly African Americans, returned home to racial discrimination and deferred dreams. The Brubecks used this double standard as the central message for the musical, deploying humour and pathos to share perspectives on American values.
On September 23, 1962, The Real Ambassadorss stunning debut moved a packed arena at the Monterey Jazz Festival to laughter, joy, and tears. Although critics unanimously hailed the performance, it sadly became a footnote in cast members’ bios. The enormous cost of reassembling the star-studded cast made the creation impossible to stage and tour. ´
However, The Real Ambassadors: Dave and Iola Brubeck and Louis Armstrong Challenge Segregation caps this jazz story by detailing how the show was triumphantly revived in 2014 by Jazz at Lincoln Center. This reaffirmed the musical’s place as an integral part of America’s jazz history and served as an important reminder of how artists’ voices are a powerful force for social change.
we´re gonna need a bigger bookshelf
Title The Real Ambassadors
Author Keith Hatschck
Publisher University Press of Mississippi
Publish Date January 20, 2022
Dimensions 6.0 X 9.0 X 0.67 inches | 0.97 pounds
Keith Hatschek is author of three other books on the music industry and has directed the music management program at University of the Pacific for twenty years. Prior to becoming an educator, he spent twenty-five years in the music business as a musician, producer, studio owner, and marketing executive.