Friday 4th May. BBC 4. 9pm. Costumes for the cinematic reconstructions.
The Jazz Ambassadors tells the unknown story of when America deployed jazz legends like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman and Dave Brubeck, along with their mixed-race bands, to fight on the frontlines of the Cold War. The plan was that they’d criss-cross the USSR, Asia and Africa, celebrating American culture and changing perceptions of what it meant to be black in America. In reality, these tours gave the Civil Rights Movement a voice on the world stage when it most needed one.
Drawing on incredible performance archive and detailed personal accounts of the tours, as well as cinematic reconstructions of crucial sequences, the film immerses viewers in an era when nuclear war threatened annihilation and freedom struggles raged across the globe. It’s an unexpected, thrilling journey, accompanied by a truly swinging soundtrack.
Amis Français, faites attention à cela sur Arté.