Date of Award

August 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Gillian Rodger

Committee Members

Judith Kuhn


Dave Brubeck, Jazz Diplomacy, Louis Armstrong, Race Relations, Real Ambassadors, United States Department of State


This Master’s thesis examines jazz diplomacy and race relations in the United States during the early Cold War years, the U.S. State Department’s cultural diplomacy propaganda initiatives, and narratives of musicians featured in State Department jazz tours as reflected in the musical "The Real Ambassadors." The musical was written by Iola and Dave Brubeck following their State Department jazz tour of Europe, Asia and the Middle East in 1958. The debut performance took place at the 1962 Monterey Jazz Festival, featuring Louis Armstrong in the lead role. A textural analysis of songs from the musical will be considered for in-depth coverage of musicians’ narrative and experience with locals during jazz diplomacy tours. A thorough understanding of American cultural and racial history during the early Cold War years is also crucial for contextualizing intersections between music and politics in the U.S. during the time period.

Included in

Music Commons