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Dept. of State Seeks Jazz Ambassadors

The U.S. Department of State and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts are planning to send seven jazz vocalists, along with their bands, out of the country as part of the 2004 Jazz Ambassadors program, which sends jazz musicians all over the world to spread further the influence of our indigenous music.

Upon hearing this news, I called the Department of State and began reading the kind woman who took my call a list of names of jazz vocalists I would like to see leave the country very much. This a list I have compiled over years of listening to bad singers mangle “My Funny Valentine” on CDs sent to JazzTimes for review. The nice lady from the DOS interupted and reminded me that the intent of the Jazz Ambassadors program is to share our brightest jazz talents with the world, not to exile the crumby ones to undesireable foreign locales like Latvia and Montreal. She suggested that I post the Web address for the Jazz Ambassadors application and let the DOS choose which singers are worthy of the position. Fair enough. So, the application can be found at http://kennedy-center.org/ambassadors, and it’s due May 30, 2003.

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