Who brought Jazz to India ?


Our presentation at the Institute of Jazz Studies explored the story of Jazz in India.

and shared a wide of range of research and information gained over the course of this project

A teaser introduction highlighted the common perception that Jazz in India is synonymous with Shakti, Mclaughlin and earlier musicianswho sought common ground between Jazz and Indian Classical music

For many of it was Ornette, Coltrane (who never visited India ) and Don Ellis, for others, it all started with Ravi Shanker’s prescient 1962 collaboration with Don Ellis and Joe Herriott

But our lens looks beyond the ’60s……….and goes back in time…

We looked at a historical arc that spanned almost 50 years, and shared information about the early “Jazz Ambassadors”..

Herb Fleming, the first of the Ambassadors arrived as early as 1933, after a having travelled to South America, from where he acquired poly rhythms and percussionist Luis Pedroso


A few laters, spurred on by the success of Fleming’s 6 month stay at the Grand Hotel in Calcutta,  came the dapper Leon Abbey, straight from the Savoy Ballroom , in Harlem !

Thanks to Dr. Brad Shope, we learned that even before these “Ambassadors” Jazz had found its way to India, and to an India that was not the sophisticated and modern Bombay and Calcutta…. Brad sent us a clip that tells part of that story

If you like this post , please click on “Rate This” , or “Like ” and stay tuned for Part II of the story..

4 thoughts on “Who brought Jazz to India ?

    • HI Warren

      from what I know , these were sides recorded in England in the early 20’s.. Here is a link with a better version and some information.. What I do know is that Gramaphone Company of India released hundreds (if not thousands) of recordings from Europe and America between the 1920’s and the ’40s. They also released many recordings that were recorded in India. For more information on these and other labels and recordings , track down Ross Laird (you will find him referenced in one or more the posts on this blog) the discographer..

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