Louis Armstrong at the Sphinx

During the Cold War, the United States made the case for the American way of life by sending its best ambassadors abroad — jazz musicians. “Music that was unique to America and represented a fusion of African and African-American cultures with other traditions was a democratic art form that helped others to understand the open-minded and creative sensibility of our country,” writes the Jam Session web site.

As part of this cultural diplomacy, Louis Armstrong went to Egypt in 1961 where he played trumpet for his wife, Lucille, at the foot of the Great Sphinx and the pyramids in Giza.