Niranjan Jhaveri – R. I. P. May 21, 2010

We mourn the passing of Niranjan Jhaveri – a passionate jazz fan, whose hard work, dedication and sheer love for the music propelled India into the eye of the Jazz World. Niranjan was a visionary who realized that Indian Classical vocal training was the ideal foundation for training a jazz vocalist…and his astute analysis led him to create JVI – the Jazz Vocal Institute through which he educated a worldwide audience and brought singers from all over the world to India to study and integrate India’s classical vocal tradition.

To his longtime friends he was simply “Niru” and some of their thoughts are shared below:

“Niranjan’s passing away means the end of my 50 year old friendship. He was primarily responsible for bringing jazz to India by organising jazz festivals since 1978. ” Soli

“It is a sad end to a courageous fighter against his cancer. There are so many memories over the decades of a good friend and a great lover and fighter for jazz in India.” Promodh

“I’ve often wondered how jazz would have developed in India if there had not been Niru Jhaveri. He was a game-maker and a game-changer. God rest him.” Stanley

“He put into reality many of the things that we were hoping to do..its been a long and deep friendship .there is too much to say”
“When  we were still listening to Eddie Condon and Mugsy Spanier it was Niru who introduced us to Dizzy and Charlie Parker”


” I am deeply saddened by Niru’s passing. To me, he was the man who put India on the jazz map with those outstanding jazz Yatras from 1978 to about 1990. Prior to that, old timers used to wistfully talk of having heard Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck and maybe Jack Teagarden in Bombay or Calcutta. ……after the departure from Bombay in the mid 70s of Jehangir Dalal, Soli Sorabjee, Manek Davar and others to various places, Niru took up the challenge and had the drive to bring big jazz stars to India. I think we should stage at least one Jazz festival in India in Niru’s honour. He deserves no less.
I’m sure he is enjoying meeting all his favourite jazz musicians he has gone to join!
Goodbye, Niranjan.”

Our condolences to the Jhaveri family who were so gracious and generous with their assistance during our filming..

We were fortunate to be able spend some time with Niranjan in 2009 and document his thoughts and story on film Sometime later this week , I will post a brief video edit from that interview

In the meanwhile, you can see an extended video edit that incorporates conversations with Niranjan , here

14 thoughts on “Niranjan Jhaveri – R. I. P. May 21, 2010

  1. This is truly the end of an era for Jazz lovers in India. My sincerest condolences to Marina, Nisha and Shail. Niru will be remembered with much love and gratitude for the years of Jazz that he gave us. He has now gone to the ultimate Jazz Club in heaven with the rest of the greats. May his soul soar with the music.

  2. Thanks Niranjan for jazzing up our city. Every Yatra, we gathered at Rang Bhavan, our cultural oasis in a spirit of camraderie & peace, with nothing else but music on our minds.

    All of us in erstwhile ‘Bombay’ had a blast. Not the kind that leaves people dead!!

    I bet you are organising a Yatra in Jazz heaven. RIP.

  3. A few years ago Niranjan was looking for someone to edit his writings into a book He said he had jotted down all that his memory could hold. Regrettably, I passed on this opportunity on as free time and retirement was distant I think some of our other friends did too

    It will be a tribute to Niranjan if his writings can be located and one amongst us can edit it into book form I am more than willing to do that having retired, if his manuscript can be located It is surely priceless

  4. We send our dearest friend Shaill, his Mom – Marina, and sister Neesha, and the Jhaveri family and friends all around the world warm light and joyful memories of their Father, husband, and friend. May we remember and celebrate Niranjan’s joy filled life with the sounds that he loved, shared, and dreamed for and with all of us.

  5. The jazz world probably doesn’t know this but on May 21st 2010 it lost one of the greatest authorities and champions of the music – my friend, Niranjan Jhaveri!

    Thank you dear friend, for letting the jazz light into our part of the world and for spreading it with your relentless energy.
    Your life was a celebration of jazz, which synergized your world. Thanks for the memories of Jazz Yatras, jazz clubbing and the fanjazztic meals
    with your original recipes!
    Thank you too for making me part of your family.

    I’m sad but I do know you are probably high on a jazz cloud with some of the greatest musicians in the universe !

    So I will celebrate your life because mine was enhanced with your presence in it.

    I send Marina, Neesha and Shaill my sympathies, love and prayers.

    To jazz, with jazz, for jazz, in jazz, my friend Niranjan Jhaveri.

  6. Very saddened to hear of the passing away of Niranjan Jhaveri.I was fortunate to be in Bombay during the first few Jazz Yatras held at Rang Bhavan which still remains for me one of the high points in my musical life.It was due to the organizational capabilities of Niranjan that we were able to hear some outstanding Jazz musicians the likes of whom we are unlikely to hear for a long time to come in India.

  7. Thanks to NJ and the Jazz Yatras, I had the pleasure of listening live to the giants of Jazz…in Rang Bhavan, Bombay! There were the legendary names like Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry, Stan Getz, Don Ellis, Don Cherry, but also great musicians and bands from other countries, there would have been no hope of hearing in India, otherwise. I remember the Brazilian Tania Maria, Japanese Sadao Watanabe, Hungarian Aladar Pege (who was presented a Mingus owned double bass by Charlie Mingus’ widow, because of his brilliant performance), Germany’s Mangelsdorf , Poland’s Laboratrium et al. And this was the only time I heard our own Asha Puthli.

    Willis Conover compered the first JY in 1978 and it was wonderful to see in person the man whose relaxed, baritone voice I had heard over so many years on the late night VOA Jazz Hour, our only window to jazz at a time when almost no jazz records were available locally. Thank you again Niranjan and I hope you are having a swinging time at the All time greats’ Jazz club in the sky.

    • thanks , unfortunately we have no audio or video from Jazz Yatra 78..I have been trying to track down the reel tapes that were recorded during the event, and there is apparently a film of some portions….however we have an outstanding source of photographs , thanks to Ratan Batliboi that we hope to share on this blog..they are a wonderful flashback to the the event and include the performers mentioned in your comment..

  8. The Poles had done a lot of filming at the 1978 JY. You could get the footage if you can get thru to Laboratrium – perhaps the Polish consulate could help. Rahul (Indigo restaurant)Akerkar’s dad was also taking a lot of photographs, so he too may be able to provide some stills. Have you checked with Niranjan’s family or records?

    By the way, all the performers in my list may not all have been at the 1978 JY, but could have performed in the later Yatras.

  9. It should be easier to get hold of copies of the souvenirs brought out at the Jazz Yatras and put up the authentic lists of performers, here at this site. That would be great!

  10. I was fortunate to recognise Mr.Jhaveri when I accidentally ran into a copy of BLUE RHYTHM dated Nov-Dec 1952 but history will show that way back in the early 40’s I ran a Jazz program in Calcutta on All India Radio entitled “Diggin’ The Discs with Raz” with a signature tune of Mezz Mezzrow’s “Really The Blues” which was also the title of his book. My show was widely appreciated but had to be curtailed for financial show was commented on in Down Beat Magazine..I boasted of having the widest selection of 78’s that was available at the time drawing on sales at L.C.Saha and the Gramophone Shop on Lindsay Street..there is so much more to tell especially about the brilliant prowess and genius of Hal Rehlings on piano and Carl Evans on bass but there is never an end to the Jazz saga..Ezra (Raz) Joshua

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