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 created equal.

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 liner notes.)

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.