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"Kinship doesn't come from skin color. It's your soul and your mind." —Dave Brubeck AMBASSADOR Dave Brubeck expressed his views on racial equality in words and music In 1969, he composed an oratorio, The Gates of Justice, based on a quote by the late Martin Luther King, Jr.: "We must live together as brothers or die together as fools." Two years later he echoed similar themes in a cantata, Truth Is Fallen. Brubeck conveyed his beliefs with actions, too. In 1960, he canceled twenty- three of twenty-five concerts—at great financial loss—when only two southern colleges allowed his integrated band to perform. He had a similar response to racial injustice overseas. In 1958, he turned down a lucrative offer to tour South Africa for the same reason. When Brubeck finally agreed to perform in South Africa in 1976, he insisted on integrated audiences as well as performers. His band performed with local black musicians to black and white fans in Cape Town. But Brubeck canceled the rest of the tour when he found out that audiences in Durban would be segregated. "IfBrubeck's stance doesn groups who face segregation by which to measure their —The Pittsburgh Courier, February 13, i960 't serve as a step to be taken by other mixed in the South, it should become a yardstick r consciences. In 1956, the U.S. State Department signed up several leading jazz musicians and sent them as cultural ambassadors to some of the most dangerous places in the world. Louis Armstrong was an early jazz ambassador, but refused to go to the Soviet Union when the United States government continued to do little about segregation in the South. In 1960, Dave and lola Brubeck wrote a musical. The Real Ambassadors. Creatively addressing sensitive issues, it tells a fictional story of Armstrong's band touring the world as ambassadors of goodwill. When the Brubecks, Armstrong, and others performed it at the 1962 Monterey Jazz Festival, lola recalled an audience riveted by a tearful Armstrong as he sang, "They say I look like Cod. Could God be black? My Cod! If both were made in the image of Thee, could Thou, perchance, a zebra be?" Zoncerts Canceled Racial Issue 'Kills' Brubeck Jazz Tour of the South College Race Bias Cancel: The cast ofTJw Real Ambassadors rehearses before the September 1962 performance at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Howard Brubeck (Dave's brother), Danny Barcelona, Eugene Wright, Joe Morello, Irving Manning, Dave Lambert, Yolanda Bavan, Jon Hendricks, lola Brubeck. Front row: Trummy Young, Carmen McRae, Louis Armstrong, and Dave Brubeck. ,->. ** T?w Rtal Ambassadors (1961) 77)» Gaits qfjustk* (19S9} In this statement, Brubeck justifies his 1976 tour of South Africa— shortly after the Soweto Uprising—despite the disapproval of many. In the early 19601, many countries began to boycott South Africa because of its policy of apartheid. Eugene Wright joined the Dave Brubeck Quartet In 1958. Brubeck maintained that, "Musicians In my group have always been selected for their musical ability and for no 1 the 1976 tour, Dave Brubeck and his sons Chris, n, and Darius (not shown) worked with black isidans in South Africa. Dave and lola Brubeck with Duke Ellington. Brubeck wrote one of his best-known works, "The Duke," in Ellington's honor. Shortly before his death in 1975, Ellington told his son Mercer that he wanted Brubeck t be appointed an Ellington Fellow at Yale. "I don't want people to think I only had black friends," he remarked. Willie "The Lion" Smith toured Europe with Brubeck. When asked, "Is it true that no white man can play jazz?" Smith put his arm around Brubeck and ant you to meet my son."

Date Original

2006

File Identifier

3-Civil Rights

Rights Management

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Contributing Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

Publisher

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

Keywords

Jazz musicians, Dave Brubeck, Holt-Atherton Special Collections, archives, photographs, images, musician, jazz, history, California

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