Did Paul Gonsalves of the Ellington band record with Teddy Weatherford?

In last weeks video sequence,  Paul Gonsalves - copyright Getty ImagesAjoy Ray talked about Teddy Weatherford at the Grand. Later, Ian Zachariah told us a delightful story about Paul Gonsalves and the Ellington band.

It turns out that after moving to Calcutta from Bombay , Teddy recorded extensively while in Calcutta and liner notes from that time indicate that his typical line up (Teddy Weatherford & His Band) included: Louiz’ dad, The Nepali jazzman George Banks (real name: Pushkar Bahadur Buddhaprithi),and  Bill McDermott (tp) George Leonardi (tb) the Burmese  Reuben Solomon (as,cl) Sonny Saldana (reeds) , the swinging Burmese guitarist Cedric West (g,tb) Tony Gonsalves (b) Trevor McCabe (d) Teddy Weatherford (p,vcl)

In May 1943, Teddy recorded with an expanded horn section – adding Roy Butler and Rudy Cotton on tenor, retaining  George Banks,  Cedric West and Reuben Soloman, and adding personnel who may have well been American and other servicemen,

And here lies the mystery – Did Paul Gonsalves of the Ellington band ever record with Teddy Weatherford in Calcutta ?

First ,  there are two points of view about this line up

In the Organissimo blog, there is a post by “Chuck Nessa” http://www.organissimo.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=39779&hl=Gonsalves

that shows the line up for the recording

Teddy Weatherford and his Band : George Banks, Bill McDermott, Pat Blake (tp) George Leonardi (tb) Reuben Soloman, Paul Gonsalves (as,cl) Roy Butler, Ruby Cotton (ts) Teddy Weatherford (p,vcl) Cedric West (g,tb) Tony Gonsalves (b) Jimmy Smith (d) Kitty Walker (vcl)
Calcutta, c. May 1943
CEI22342-1 The lady who didn’t believe in love (rw vcl) Col (In)FB40315, Harlequin (E)HQ2013
CEI22344-1 Out of this world (kw vcl) – , –

and again in May 1994, the same line up , with Bridget Moore replacing Kitty Walker on vcl

CEI22808-1 Ice cold Katie (bm vcl) Col (In)FB40396, Harlequin (E)HQ2013

However, in  Ross Laird’s extensive


those same recordings are identified with the following line ups:


George Banks-Bill McDermott-Pat Blake-tpts; ?George Leonardi-tbn; Reuben Solomon-clt-as; Roy Butler-Rudy Cotton-ts; Teddy Weatherford-piano-vocal; Cedric West-gtr-tbn; Tony Gonsalves-bass; Jimmy Smith-dms; Kitty Walker-vocals

CEI-22342-1 CEI-22343-1 CEI-22344 CEI-22345-1 CEI-22346 CEI-22347-1

The lady who didn’t believe in love (vTW) Out of this world (vKW)

and again

Includes Teddy Weatherford-piano; Willis Mullings-Bridgette Moe-vocals

CEI-22806-1 CEI-22807-1 CEI-22808-1 CEI-22809-1

Thank your lucky stars (vWM) I’m ridin’ for a fall (vWM) Ice Cold Katie (vBM) Goodnight, good neighbour (vBM)    Col FB40395 Col FB40395 Col FB40396

So there we have ,two sources, pointing to the same recordings , one identifying a Paul Gonsalves on tenor, one excluding his sax !

The next question is  – Was this the Paul Gonsalves of  Ellington Band fame ?

See below, in response, the illuminating comments to this post from the two jazz fans who are living repositories the story of jazz in india – Jehangir Dalal and Promodh Malhotra

11 thoughts on “Did Paul Gonsalves of the Ellington band record with Teddy Weatherford?

  1. From Promodh:
    There were some Teddy Weatherford recordings on Indian HMV on 78 but I don’t know if they are still around. HMV I understand destroyed many masters in Dum Dum in Calcutta to retrieve metal for new pressings. But this is only hearsay.

    From Jehangir:

    Regarding Paul Gonsalves:

    The question is asked whether the tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves who recorded with Weatherford in India is the same musician who played with Duke Ellingrton.

    Has it been established that Gonsalves recorded with Weatherford ? Your query appears to treat this a s a fact.

    Weatherford died in 1945 and made records until his death.

    Gonsalves was born in 1920, and was in the US Army from 1942 to 1945, and was stationed in India. Hence the possibility exists.

    If he had actually made recordings in India, the fact would have been widely known and publicized. Calcutta had several jazz afficionados and fans in those days, (way before Blue Rhythm,) who put out magazines devoted to “swing” music. Managing Agencies burra sahibs and also lots of chota rajas and nawabs, and high society folk.

    The dates do make for a tempting conclusion. He may certainly have sat in with the Weatherford band at the Grand Hotel and other venues, but did he make records with them ? Big question……

    Probably not. I do not have the answer. The bulk of the musicians in bands in those days were Goans. and if someone has the personnel with Gonsalves in it, that’s easily explained (maybe a “Z” in the spelling).
    I daresay some Anglo Indian musicians were there too.

    Some research needed.


    • Promodh Much as we might want it, there’s little chance its Paul Gonsalves of Duke fame Note there is another Gonsalves playing bass in that Weatherford band and its such a common Goan name
      Paul toured India extensively with Duke in 63 and never mentioned an earlier stint in the country

      • The chances may not be as remote,…The facts are that he was stationed in Calcutta in the early ’40s. Additionally, there is proof that Teddy did record with Locally stationed servicemen. With regard to Paul G not mentioning an earlier stint..again , reliable first hand eyewitness accounts indicate that he was pretty well fuelled on a number of substances during his visit with the Ellington band, as recounted in both Bombay and in Calcutta…so not particularly surprised that that he never mentioned an earlier stint.

        Regarding Paul Serving in India: – From a posting on All About Jazz, referring a you tube clip that shows Paul asleep during a performance

        “The Gonsalves clip brings to mind an incident that happened when I was editing Down Beat.

        Ellington was making one of his regular two-week appearances at Chicago’s Blue Note, and on opening niight, in front of a full house that included local press and celebrities, Gonsalves nodded out in the same manner we see on the video.

        But to compound it all, he also fell out of his chair, got to his seat again, then promptly nodded out once more.

        I went back the next night and had a chance to talk to Duke privately,and I said something to him like, “I know it is none of my business, Duke, but isn’t it of great personal embarrassment to you when something like that happens?”

        Ellington simply smiled urbanely and told me that one must be able to overlook such indidents when they involve a man who served his country so well in India (as a soldier in WWII) and who, while in that service, contracted a rare tropical disease that “occasionally makes him fall asleep.”

        I could only smile in rueful appreciation of his answer–I had been satisfactorily squelched and told to mind my magazine and he would mind his band.

        I had been ducally euchred.

        Jack Tracy

        (Mr. Tracy was editor of Down Beat in the mid 1950s.)

  2. Well consider the following
    i) This Gonsalves is listed as playing as and cl The Paul Gonsalves of Duke fame played ts for his entire reported career If he had hit the as or cl even once it would have been news
    ii) Jehangir is right If it indeed was the same Paul then his return in 63 would have attracted specific notice from the people and the press. Dont forget there were people from Cal who were around both in 45 as well as 63
    iii) MY wife Sarita met and spoke with the Ellington band at that time in 63 and she has preserved each and everyone’s autograph including Paul’s. She does not recall him being sozzled.. or sleepy …In any case the argument is untenable and unkind to the musician

    iv) Lastly, refer to

    Jazz in India: Perspectives on Historical Development and Musical Acculturation
    Warren R. Pinckney, Jr.
    Asian Music, Vol. 21, No. 1 (Autumn, 1989 – Winter, 1990), pp. 35-77

  3. Hi,

    It is certain that Paul Gonsalves was in India at the time Teddy Weatherford was recording there… and there are certainly reliable reports that he may have “jammed” with the band on occasion.

    However, I think that the speculation involved in extending these known details to the point where it is assumed that Paul Gonsalves is also on some of the Weatherford recordings is a step too far…

    I believe that there is no evidence for this and the personnel I gave for the Weatherford session that has been claimed to include Paul Gonsalves is based on what I have been able to establish based on contemporary reports and comments from reliable witnesses.

    It is always tempting to speculate that someone who at the time was little known but who later became quite famous DID record when there was an opportunity to do so. But I feel that care should be exercised in jumping to such a conclusion.

    Reading some reports about the supposed appearance of Paul Gonsalves on Weatherford’s recordings it seems that it has often been assumed that because Paul G. was in India (as a serviceman not a musician) at that time he also recorded with Weatherford. This is pure speculation.

    I think another factor that has contributed to such a belief is that a Goan musician with the name Tony Gonsalves (who was not related to Paul G. in any way) definitely was in the band, so there has been some confusion that this was actually the (later) famous American musician.

    Teddy Weatherford’s band was a fully professional outfit and even though it appears that Paul Gonsalves may have sat in with them in the more casual environment of their regular work as a dance band it seems to me very unlikely they would have added someone who was actually a U.S. serviceman in a recording studio setting.

    It is known that Teddy Weatherford was often quite lax in the way he ran his band so he may have allowed Paul Gonsalves to sit in.

    But it is also known that the recordings were supervised by rather conservative record company officials who I believe would have demanded that the band make the recordings required as efficiently as possible. I doubt that they would have wanted someone who was not a regular member of the orchestra sitting in when the band was meant to be there for recording purposes.

    The bottom line is that there is no evidence that Paul Gonsalves recorded with Weatherford and so the lineup I gave in my web-based discography does not include him.

    Regards, Ross

  4. Hello,
    With regards to Paul Gonsalves being in India and sitting in with Teddy Wratherford.
    I was friends with a pilot,who happened to be a jazz fan,who was stationed in India during the second world war.
    He rememberd Paul sitting in with Weatherford,and playing alto sax incidentally,on many occassions.
    Later on when Paul was a member of the Ellington orch my friend when to see them perform,when they toured the UK. He was lucky enough to speak to Paul and mentioned that he had seen him in India in the early forties.Paul was surprised and delighted that my friend had rememberd.
    Paul Gonsalves was a great musician who not only played tenor,guitar,clarinet and as we know alto. I fact you can see Paul play clarinet on the film “Memories of the Duke”,a Gary Keys film of Ellingtons’ tour of Mexico in ’68.He plays on “Creole Love Call.

    I hope the above sheds a bit more light on Paul’s Indian posting.


  5. The following is a follow up from Wayne Clutton, placed on the Blog with his permission

    Hello Susheel,

    Sorry I’ve taken so long to reply.

    Firstly my informant is no longer with us,he died a couple of years back.
    I belong to the Duke Ellington music society and they produce a bulletin every three months . About 10 years ago they produced a Paul Gonsalves discography. It was authored by a lady named Wendy Lawrence.It listed all Pauls recordings outside of Ellingtons’ Orch. The first recordings he did were with Teddy Weatheford out in India between 1943/44. I wish I could send you a copy of the list but at the moment I’m unable to find it.
    I can assure you that you are not barking up the wrong tree.

    Good luck

    Best Regards


    p.s I did enjoy the trailer and I hope you get to complete your film

  6. Pingback: Incredible Ellington — in India ! Pt I « Bluerhythm's Blog

  7. Interesting post. Do you think you could correct the spelling of my Dad’s last name? It was Solomon. Like the King in the Bible!
    I have a few old 78’s of Teddy Weatherford, recorded in Calcutta but nothing to play them on.

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