Louis was among the first of the jazz greats to carry
the idea of the “American Dream” to foreign lands as an “Ambassador
of Good Will”, and representative of our government. Ironically,
at home those same ambassadors were unable to experience the rights and
privileges inherent in America’s core belief that all people are
The Real Ambassadors was born of Dave and Louis’ shared belief in
equality for all and the utter refusal to tolerate racial discrimination
in their own lives. Set in the early 1960’s, the show chronicles
the adventures of a fictional version of Louis Armstrong and his band
touring the world as “Ambassadors of Good Will” for the U.S.A.
The Brubecks skillfully built a fantasy around an actual event that occurred
during Armstrong’s tour in Africa. In Leopoldville, tribes painted
themselves in Armstrong’s honor and carried him on an improvised
chaise lounge. “His acceptance there may safely be said to have
exceeded that of any foreign diplomat before or since.” (From original
Conceived in 1956, “The Real Ambassadors” took its first steps
in 1961, when Dave, Louis and their bands came together with the top jazz
vocal group of all time, Lambert, Hendricks and Ross to record the score.
It was performed only once… in concert version, by Dave, Louis and
the album cast, at the 1962 Monterey Jazz Festival and was a smash hit.