Duke Ellington arrives in Afghanistan.

L to R: William Brewer, U.S. Chargé d’affaires; Ellington; Mr. Pardes, Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture Protocol Department.
Kabul, 1963

The famed jazz pianist made his first musical tour abroad for the U.S. government in 1963. The concert in Kabul’s Ghazi Stadium was attended by an estimated 5,000 people including government officials, the diplomatic corps, and members of the Royal Family. When Ellington learned that prayer time would occur during the performance, he stepped to the microphone and announced that the orchestra would stop playing so the audience could pray.

Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville. CU Box 345 Folder 10.


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