Chronicling an array of international concerts and appearances by jazz stars from the 1950s through the '70s, the Fowler Museum at UCLA presents Jam Session: America's Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World," an exhibition of nearly 100 photographs opening on Saturday. A number of images capturing these cultural exchanges leave a remarkable impression, such as Benny Goodman entertaining a young crowd in Red Square (above), or a triumphant Louis Armstrong blowing amid a sea of ecstatic children in Cairo.
Other images are striking just for their warm oddity, such as Duke Ellington sampling a hookah with saxophonist Paul Gonsalves in Iraq. Also not to be lost among the images is the trace of irony in shots such as a pipe-smoking Dizzy Gillespie embodying American cool on the back of a motorbike in 1956 Yugoslavia while back home the civil rights movement was just beginning.
The show kicks off with an opening-night jam session featuring UCLA faculty members Kenny Burrell, Barbara Morrison, Roberto Miranda and more on Saturday at 7 p.m., and Burrell will also appear on Sunday at 2 p.m. with Quincy Jones and jazz historian John Hasse in a conversation to be moderated by KCRW-FM's Tom Schnabel. The exhibition runs through Aug. 14.