Striking the right note

It’s just one of those odd combinations: Louis Armstrong and the Sphinx. But then why not? Everybody who can visits Egypt at some point in their lives, and everyone who visits Egypt visits the Pyramids. Except this was no casual holiday. Armstrong was in Cairo as a player in the Cold War. He was one of a number of Jazz Ambassadors sent out by the US State Department around Africa and the Middle East to counter Soviet propaganda, a programme that also included Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. In 1960-61, Armstrong and the All Stars performed in 27 cities in Africa, including Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan and, as pictured above, Egypt. For more on America’s jazz diplomacy, click here.

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