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The Jazz Heritage Center in San Francisco has recently unveiled a groundbreaking new exhibit that chronicles a time when the U.S. government used American jazz musicians — instead of traditional symphony orchestras and ballet companies — as the nation's front-line cultural diplomats.

"Jam Session: America's Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World," showcases nearly one hundred photographs culled from various archives and collections from across the country.

The exhibit, organized by the Meridian International Center, explores various historic exchange programs operated by the U.S. Department of State during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. American jazz legends — names synonymous with jazz culture, including Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman — all participated in these tours as cultural ambassadors, and are featured in the exhibit.

Jam Session" is part of an international tour which made its premiere at Washington, D.C.'s Meridian International Center, and most recently enjoyed a showing at the legendary Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. The Jazz Heritage Center is the exhibit's only West Coast showing, and will run from May 17 to June 25, 2009; the exhibit is open daily from noon to 10 pm.

"Jam Session" is a free exhibit brought to the San Francisco community through the generosity of the Koret Foundation and Friends of the Jazz Heritage Center.

The New York Times in 1955 — and again in 2008 — referred to our country's jazz diplomats as America's "Super Sonic Weapon." Visitors to "Jam Session" will have an opportunity to see and learn why.

Official Website: http://www.jazzheritagecenter.org

Added by mavennyc821 on May 29, 2009

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