The Jazz Ambassadors–Up Close

(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.

(from the Jazz Ambassodors exhibit)

(from the Jazz Ambassodors exhibit)


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:

(from the Jazz Ambassodors exhibit)

(from the Jazz Ambassodors exhibit)

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. Paintings of Miles

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.

About RuizSF

Musician Photographer Cashier
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2 Responses to The Jazz Ambassadors–Up Close

  1. tzp says:

    i love the bricks that have been in the sidewalk for the past 6 or 7 years – the ones with the names of players and clubs that made fillmore great in the jazz heyday.

    the other day, while on the 22, i noticed the sidewalks all tore up; stacks of those zig-zag shaped bricks piled high. i am hoping the names don’t disappear, and others might be added to them.

    • ruizsf says:

      I love those bricks too, I think I’ve read every name and club along that sidewalk. You know, the last exhibit featured photos from a lot of the clubs
      represented on the bricks. It was really hard for me to get any info on those bars and venues, so when photo’s showed up in the lobby, I was pretty excited.

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