Thomas , Anto’s son , sent me the following. For those who don’t know, Soli Sorabjee, former Attorney General of India and ardent jazz fan…
Subject: SOLI SORABJEE’S TRIBUTE TO DADDY Sun, Sep 13 06:40 AM
Indian jazz scene
The present generation of jazz musicians thrives on electric or bass guitar, synthesizer and drums. Traditional jazz instruments like trumpet, trombone and clarinet are shunned by them because mastering them takes time and involves intensive practice.Vibraphone, made famous by Lionel Hampton, is hardly played by our jazz musicians. An exception was the gifted musician, Anto Menezes, a pianist, composer and performer, who delighted jazz fans by his magical touch on the vibes. Anto played in Delhi in 1982 with the All Star Swing Band which featured greats like Rudy Cotton and Anto’s brother Mosin Menezes. Anto’s performance made that concert unforgettable. Anto rightly described as “an ever-giving soul with a peace-loving heart” passed away in Calcutta last month leaving a void in the Indian jazz world.
But life goes on. The Indian jazz scene has seen the emergence of a brilliant young musician, Madhav Chari. Madhav is a brilliant pianist. His recent performance at the release of his CD, ‘Parisian Thoroughfares’, displayed his complete mastery of the key-board. His sparkling runs on the piano, his solid left hand and the ingenuity of his compositions thrilled jazz fans. Madhav is an extremely knowledgeable jazz musician who keeps abreast of developments in the jazz world and adapts them to his musical style and his remarkable compositions without losing his individuality.
Thomas also sends this:
Thanks Thomas !
Ajoy Ray in Calcutta introduced me to Anto..Here is the email that he sent:
I just thought of someone still around in Cal who was around heavily in the ’50s, ’60s & ’70s.
Anto Menezes, the vibes player. He’d be able to enlighten us on this area. I used to see him in the ’60s at Mocambo’s on Sunday morning live jazz sessions.. Let me see if I can contact him.
In a live session in the mid – ’70s for our Jazz Club which simply blew our minds was a superb, superb version of “Straight No Chaser” arranged by Louis (who’s this recent ‘z’?) Banks, and played by Braz Gonzalves, Louis himself, Anto on vibes, Bosco Monserate (our own budding Freddie Hubbard) on trumpet, Carlton on guitar, Iggy D’Souza on 2nd tenor sax (a massively leaking one, as Dave Liebman later discovered), Peter Saldhana on bass & Johnny Edmonds (with his Afro) on drums. Wow! I haven’t forgotten, tell Louis.
Hi, and thanks for the update. Wonderful to know you got so much great material. Sadly, we lost Anto just a little while ago. He developed gangrene in one leg which had to be amputated, and I guess his heart couldn’t take it. He had a heart attack and passed away. I just got to hear of this, and was planning to write and tell you. Your footage of Anto is probably the last documentation of him.
This is really sad news. we met with Anto Menezes on July 26th. Anto’s brother is the swingin piano player , Mohsin, in Delhi. The Menezes family came from Colombo. Anto was a gentle and charming person who loved his music. He showed us his ancient vibraphone which was acquired from a British vibraphone player circa 1946. Anto played for us on this beat up instrument and showed us how he voiced chords with inverted roots etc ..and how he left space for the other instruments.. It was a shock to hear that he has passed on… Anto Menezes was 78 years old. There are many other musicians whose stories we need to capture, we are grateful that we could meet with Anto and document his story. Here are a few pics. ..the one with the piano , according to Anto, is to be credited to Tina Ambani, and is from a magazine article.
CLICK on this underlined link to see an article by Ian Zachariah