The Cold War and civil rights collide in this remarkable story of music, diplomacy, and race. Beginning in 1955, when the United States asked its greatest jazz artists to travel the world as cultural ambassadors, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, and their racially diverse band members faced a painful dilemma: How could they represent a country that still practiced Jim Crow segregation? The documentary reveals how the US State Department unwittingly gave the burgeoning civil rights movement a major voice on the world stage just when it needed one most. Drawing on an incredible performance archive and detailed personal accounts of the tours, as well as cinematic reconstructions of crucial sequences, the film immerses viewers in this fascinating journey, accompanied by a truly swinging soundtrack.
RECEPTION Don’t miss the dessert and wine reception upstairs in the Jane Peck Gallery!