The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center, announced today the 10 ensembles selected to tour with 2011-2012 season of The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad. Selected from 110 applicants for their artistic integrity, musical ability, and educational skills, the ensembles are:
Ari Roland Jazz Quartet (Jazz, New York)
Dennis Luxion/Michael Raynor Quartet (Jazz, Illinois)
The Earth String Band (Bluegrass, Massachusetts)
Jed Levy Quartet (Jazz, New York)
Kate McGarry Quartet (Jazz, New York)
Legacy (Urban/Hip-Hop, New Jersey)
The Melvin Williams Group (Gospel, Louisiana)
Mountain Quickstep (Bluegrass, New York)
Oscar Williams Jr. and the Band of Life (Gospel, Missouri)
Paul Beaudry & Pathways (Jazz, New York)
The Rhythm Road builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power” diplomacy, which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools – in this case music. The selected bands will travel to more than 40 countries during a month-long tour and conduct public concerts, master classes, lecture demonstrations, workshops, jam sessions; and collaborate with local musicians. This season will feature a variety of American music, including jazz, urban/hip-hop, blues, bluegrass, country, and gospel.
The Rhythm Road is the 21st Century iteration of the Jazz Ambassador’s program that began in the 1950s and showcased the likes of jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, and Dave Brubeck. To date, 150 musicians from 39 ensembles have toured with The Rhythm Road, visiting over 100 countries on five continents.
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs promotes international mutual understanding through a wide range of academic, cultural, private-sector, professional, and sports exchange programs. ECA exchanges engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and emerging leaders in many fields in the United States and in more than 160 countries. Alumni of ECA exchanges comprise over one million people around the world, including more than 50 Nobel Laureates and more than 320 current or former heads of state and government.