U.S. cultural diplomacy draws deeply on the transcendent power of music to communicate America's strengths, freedoms, hopes and challenges. Through the presentation of jazz, urban, and roots music, American musicians are reaching out with high impact across cultural, language, and social barriers. The Rhythm Road - American Music Abroad program takes American music around the world.

The Rhythm Road - American Music Abroad program - formerly known as the Jazz Ambassador program - presents selected professional American musicians on concert tours in countries where there is limited exposure to live American culture. Under an open solicitation, a grant was awarded to Jazz at Lincoln Center to administer the overseas tours as well as the application and audition process to select quartets for the tours.

Since the program began, participants have toured the Middle East, Eurasia, Central Europe and the Balkans, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. In some years, the program has had a specific theme such as the blues, vocal jazz, and Latin jazz or commemorated the music of jazz giants Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.

Participants in the Rhythm Road tour abroad under official U.S. government auspices, following their debut performances in Washington, D.C. The Department of State funds overseas travel, hotels, and meals, plus a modest honorarium for each participant.

Participants for the 2009 tours, including jazz quartets and urban music groups, have already been selected. Additional information on Rhythm Road is available at: http://www.jalc.org/TheRoad/