gospel

The Lone Star-bred collective, The Texas Gentlemen, takes its cues from some of the iconic acts of the past — the quicksilver brilliance of The Wrecking Crew and Bob Dylan’s one-time backers The Band are the most obvious examples.

During the Cold War, the U.S. State Department started sending jazz musicians overseas with the tactical aim of using their hot licks to thaw relations with Eastern Bloc countries. Jazz great Dave Brubeck recalls how Louis Armstrong, a.k.a. “Ambassador Satch,” won international hearts and minds with his trumpet. Band member Arvell Shaw saw Armstrong literally disarm Russian guards in East Berlin. Meanwhile, fear of nuclear war with the Soviets infiltrated American popular consciousness resulting in gospel, bluegrass and pop odes to and protests against atomic weapons.