(I’m sure there is a link somewhere out there on this exhibit, but this is my own take on it.)
While making the rounds this week, strolling though the Fillmore, I discovered gold. Gold in the form of classic jazz photos with tremendous historical value. “Jazz Ambassadors–Up Close” is the current exhibit showing in the lobby at Yoshi’s. In short it’s a group photo exhibition featuring popular and not-so-popular Jazz musicians, sent overseas by the U.S. State Department, from the mid-50’s into the 70’s.
I’m writing this in reaction to the huge impact these photos had on me.
My favorite photo is a group of kids in Pakistan, some teenagers, some younger, some older. Hands in the air, waving and clapping. Some eyes are wide open while others are clenched shut. All of them dancing around a lone trumpet player…Louis Armstrong.
Another favorite is the classic indian snake charmer image, but this time the charmer is none other than Dizzy Gilliespe.
Most the photo’s are pretty good size prints, making it easy and fun to take in the whole scene.
A description plaque describes how the musicians “…gave away instument reeds and clothing.” As well as “…winning over the admiration of high ranking dignitaries and children alike with their unique interpersonal skills”.
Other photos that really make this exhibit for me are:
Benny Goodman in Red Square, Moscow, Soviet Union
Duke Ellington (and a hooka) in Iraq
It’s free too! Just so you know they always have good stuff in that lobby, but this one is exceptional.
Next door at The Jazz Heritage Center’s Lush Life Gallery they’re honoring the 50th Anniversary of “Kind Of Blue” , Miles Davis’ masterpiece. Showing photos and paintings and all that jazz;)
I’ll check that out on my next stroll.