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The Appel Room

The Real Ambassadors

Towards the end of the 1950s, pianist-composer Dave Brubeck and his wife Iola, in collaboration with Louis Armstrong, drew on their experiences spreading American culture and music around the world at the behest of the U.S. Department of State to create a jazz musical titled The Real Ambassadors. Brubeck's and Armstrong's groups coalesced to record the soundtrack in 1961, and to perform at the 1962 Monterey Jazz Festival, their only performance. Pianist and Music Director Peter Martin leads a restaging of this still-topical masterwork, which addressed the civil rights movement and includes Iola Brubeck's classic lyrics "They Say I Look Like God! Could God be black? My God!" Also performing are bassist Robert Hurst, drummer Ulysses Owens, vocalists Roberta Gambarini, Brian Owens, Vivian Sessoms, Russell Graham, and Ty Stephens, trumpeter James Zollar, and original member of the 1962 performance Yolande Bavan as narrator. This will be the first ever New York performance of this important work.

Free pre-concert discussion, nightly, at 6pm and 8:30pm with Ricky Riccardi, Louis Armstrong House Museum; and Keith Hatschek, Professor at the University of the Pacific, and Dave Brubeck scholar.

As part of our Dave Brubeck Festival, enjoy free cocktail samples from Van Brunt Stillhouse, tastings from Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, live music, and an album art display courtesy of the Jazz Record Center, April 11-12 starting at 6pm.

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NPR Brubeck reflections
Media Collection

Visitor Info

Box Office

Broadway and 60th Street

Ground Floor



Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm

Sun, 12pm-6pm






Price Info

Tickets start at $45

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The Real Ambassador