THE BASEMENT TAPES


One of the challenges of recounting history in a documentary film is locating archival material. And a film about the story of Jazz, in India, requires authentic archival audio.  Its a constant search , that turns up resources from the most unexpected places..and this post is about an amazing find..the basement tapes ! ..this time from Bombay, via Canada, and not from  Woodstock !

Heres the story..About a year and a half ago, we learned about some old reel tapes that had languished in a basement in Canada, transported there from India by the sister of a well known Bombay musician of the past..They finally go to us, in bad shape, contents unknown, and frankly in danger that old magnetic tape would fall apart..The reels had all the danger signs, cracking surfaces, stretched , and print through (when audio leaks through the layers of tape). Regardless , we finally found an machine that could play this, thanks to our friends at the Institute of Jazz Studies and carefully sampled a few  minutes from each…. WOW..what was in our hands was the only known recording of the Micky Correa Big Band..swinging away, live,  at his very last performance …the farewell concert , Taj Mahal Hotel, 1962 !

It was too dangerous to run the entire tapes..what was most important was that they be transferred.. so it was determined that they be sent to a specialty shop,  where they could be transferred ..so off they went to a specialty shop in Ohio that pulled off as much audio as possible from the two reels that were playable.

A six minute test edit captures part of this story …

NOW ON YOU TUBE

And there you have it .. the Basement Tapes..a wonderful piece of archival history, portions of which will feature in our film…thanks to the Correa family.

4 thoughts on “THE BASEMENT TAPES

  1. what a charming and beautiful segment for your documentary. One immediately shares the delight as Christine expresses her surprise. Very touching. Bravo- good editing as well.

  2. I am Christine’s cousin, the daughter of Alex Correa, Mickey’s older brother. Uncle Mickey first played in my Dad’s band in Karachi and the roles were then reversed when they moved to Bombay. Those recordings were made by my dad, Alex, on the last night they played at the Taj, on a Grundig reel to reel. My sister, Fran, had them in her basement in Ottawa; my mother had brought them with her after my Dad died. She is the one who has had them perpetuated!. Just thought I would set the record straight.

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