The aim of this project is to showcase South African jazz to the global jazz community, in the context of forging international relations, to encourage diplomacy and to use jazz as a means for advancing social cohesion among the people of South Africa and the Netherlands. Social Context Global and local leaders, social scientists and technologists need increasingly large commitments of human capital to help localities, nations and regions respond to emerging social and environmental challenges. Societies may therefore place higher premiums on activities that help small groups and local communities develop skills for effective and nimble collaboration and leadership. The arts can generate many of these activities. When community leaders assess the value of the arts and arts education, they often do so in a narrow context. They realize, for example, that the arts provide comfort and release to practitioners and listeners, and can raise the level of discourse and dignity in a society. However, artists and educators know that they can also be logistically expedient as didactic tools, teaching many practical lessons that translate to other contexts. Why Jazz? Often, applied music students and professionals envision the use of their skills only within a narrow range of applications. This project will be of value to musicians and educators in the practice of their art, but another objective is to underscore how those skills can have practical value outside of musical performance and composition. A jazz performer must be able to hold a recurring musical structure in the mind, while interpreting its melody, elaborating on its harmonic structure, varying its rhythm and finding connections to other music—all with creative interaction with other players. These actions involve an enormous set of skills, both technical and otherwise. In addition to raw creativity, this skill set depends on memory, reasoning, calculation, cultural literacy, empathy, sensitivity, planning and reaction time—all qualities of tremendous value in other forms of work. Throughout its history, jazz music has been a locus of disparate artistic and social groups. Although jazz musicians and audiences have never been completely immune to and devoid of racial prejudice and social stratification present where the music has thrived, the music has generally outpaced society at large in bringing multiracial and multi-cultural voices together for free expression and enjoyment. Jazz performances were racially integrated before most other social milieus in the U.S., and African American jazz musicians were sent abroad as cultural ambassadors in the 1950s, well before they enjoyed equal rights at home. In the present day, musicians and audiences on every inhabited continent can lay claim to a particular regional flavor of jazz, often with significant reference to the local cultural experience and folk music, and with varying relation to the particular cultural experiences of struggle, oppression and empowerment central to the birth and blossoming of 20th century American jazz. In short, jazz is an adaptable language that accommodates idiomatic infusions from everywhere. Fluid organizational structures of cooperation and leadership are strong agents in many forms of music, but they are essential to jazz. Most often, as with any type of musical ensemble, a jazz group is not a pure democracy, since one member may be the director; but de facto leadership of a jazz group can change rather fluidly during a performance. Within a particular piece of music, even, the ensemble can be likened to a mini republic, usually with players agreeing to alternate leadership roles within the piece. That is, players pass on leadership at several given points in time, and agree to support the leader of the moment by complementing him/her harmonically, melodically, rhythmically and dynamically. An individual must be assertive enough to sometimes seize the helm, but must know how and when to yield it to another at an appropriate time. When the group functions well, players’ sometimes unpredictable roles of the moment take them in and out of the spotlight, regardless of how comfortable they are there. This project begins with the notion that nurturing the individual and group skills described above--mental agility, empathy, interaction, cultural and structural adaptability, assertiveness, fluid leadership and selflessness—will be of increasing value to communities as they develop strategies for peaceful and effective decision making in challenging times.