The Ladies of Calcutta

We head to Calcutta on August 1, one year from our previous visit and will hopefully come back with the footage we are looking for..

In the meanwhile, memories from last years work and the songs and music remain…

Here are two brief clips featuring the voices from Calcutta..

Anjum Katyal
We follow Anjum , a singer, as she rehearses with Carlton, the band, and then in performance…Moanin’ is the tune, written by Bobby Timmons and made famous by Art Blakey, Wes Montgomery and many others

Smita Mishra
Smita’s debut performance brings her sound to video.. She came to learn guitar..and wound up singing in a concert setting..

We follow her through a lesson where she works on the Ellington tune..”Hit me with the hot notes” -, next a rehearsal – with “At Last” and then in performance with the Cole Porter standard – “Lets fall in love”

and for those of you know remember the original “Ladies of Calcutta” you go!


Manohari Singh _ R.I. P

Thanks to Stanley Pinto …who alerted us that Manohari Singh, master of the Saxophone and one the sweetest sax tones in India, passed away a few days ago,. Unfortunately we did not have the opportunity to meet with him…

Here is an interview with Manohari Singhi with Ashwin Panemangelore, reproduced with thanks to Ashwin

You can hear his sax on many recordings and in the clips below

Includes a quote from Take Five ?!!

and also on Jazzmine..Shanker-Jaikishan’s fusion essay

Alix Combelle – In Calcutta – 1951

Alix Combelle was the hottest tenor player in pre-war Europe..and respected by the American musicians who brought jazz to Europe. ..The French nicknamed him: “Le premier négre du jazz, made in France” (= The first “black” French jazz musician)..Articles in Downbeat and Hot Jazz (paris) speak highly of his playing ability.. The blog KEEP SWINGING includes a recording.. We came across an Alix Combelle 78 issued on the old Columbia Label and pressed in Dum Dum Calcutta …and wondered why this recording was released in India..Later on , in interviews with old timers in Calcutta we heard that Alix may have played in Calcutta around 1950.. We just heard from his son Phillippe, a jazz musician , who confirms this.. “dear sir i think my father alix combelle was in calcutta india in 1947 /1948 with his band thats what my mother says but i am not sure ; ; ;if i find some news about it i tell you latter i am a jazz musician too and i like to go to india to play in jazz concert i am on my space/philippe combelle take a look if you want i wish you good success for your work on the story of jazz in india sincerely philippe alix combelle” It would be interesting to find out where he played..we hear that it was a 6 month or longer stint.. Calcutta must have been a swinging city ! FOLLOW UP : See DOUG PETERS COMMENTS (below) ..WHERE HE VERIFIES THAT ALIX COMBELLES CALCUTTA GIG WAS IN 1951/52 at PRINCES, THE GRAND HOTEL..

From Perth, via Calcutta – guitar jazz and archival photos !

With permission from Arthur Gracias, a pioneering and respected Calcutta jazzman, now settled in Perth..Arthur was one of the earliest jazz musicians in India to seriously study Indian Classical music.. he was ahead of his time..Arthur left Calcutta for Perth about seven years ago. He currently performs and teaches in Australia.

“I have attached a few photographs of the 60’s performing at the Grand Hotel( Scherazade)
left standing is Lenny D’souza (drums) Michael Dias, Alto Sax and Clarinet,Hector Cranenburg, Double Bass, Arthur Gracias, Guitar, Felix Torcato, Piano. we used to play Bebop,Swing etc. (Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Wes Montgomery, Ramsey Lewis etc.)

(2) performance at Prince’s (Grand Hotel) .Sonny Lobo (piano)Rubin Robeiro (jazz vocalist) Jimmy Sam’s (Trumpet/violin) Michael Dias, (Tenor/Alto Saxes/Clarinet/violin) Bostio Fernandes, Bouble Bass, (sitting left) Lester Rozario,( Drums) Arthur Gracias, Guitar. Custod Silveira, Tenor/Alto saxes/clarinet/violin. During the period we used to perform Big band jazz such as Duke Ellington, Count basie, night and Classical music for the lunch sessions everyday, Sonny used to import the orchestrations from the Uk.and USA.

Charlie Smith ’65 etc { Who was Charlie Smith ?, does anyone know ? }

In 1972 I performed the first Indo jazz concert with the Great Tabla player Ustad Nanku Maharaj,Dulal Lahiri, Indian classical Violin and myself Guitar, at Rabindra Sadan.

Can send you more details, my web page is down presently, however you can google Arthur Gracias Indojazz for more info. I have been residing in Perth W.Australia for seven years but do go back to India every year to perform.I have a lot more photographs, pressreviews,tapes, cd’s etc. as the years go by 60s,70s,80s,todate.”

Google Arthur Gracias – Indojazz for information about his current activity..

The Sultan of Bombay Swing

We were sent this article about Micky Correa ,by Meher Marfatia , an interesting read.. We dont know the source publication and would be happy to acknowledge it..we reproduce it in full , in pdf form below


And as a recap, of previous posts – a clip about Micky

The talented Mr. Bockelman !

Thanks to the supremely patient and talented Matt Bockelman, filmmaker, cinematographer and sound engineer-in-one we were able to film at

The Institute of Jazz Studies

and additional footage in Brooklyn.

We were extraordinarily fortunate to be able to have Matt find time for us (at short notice , less than 24 hours in one case!) and add his talents to that of Mukul Kishore and Suresh Rajamani …His footage will greatly enhance the film !

We met Matt through Sunil at Chrysalis Films, Mumbai..where Matt worked on his documentary about an extraordinary community in Ahmedabad that kept the peace while communal riots raged around them..

Check out Matt’s website