Who Brought Jazz to India – Part III

Thanks for the feedback on this series featuring the work of Dr. Brad Shope , Texas A&M..
Part I and II are available here

Who Brought Jazz to India – Part I
Who Brought Jazz to India – Part II

As we conclude with Part III, we recognize , along with Brad, that there are others who have also undertaken a journey of discovery with regard to the origins and history of Jazz in India. This slide from our presentation at the Institute of Jazz Studies lists many contributors who work has helped with the historical background of this film.. Do take a moment to google some of the names, or peruse the blog for references to their work

Here is Part III


Who Brought Jazz to India ? Part II

Thanks for the emails related to the previous post

So for those who are interested , we continue the story told in the Presentation at the Institute of Jazz Studies on Feb 16th…this time through the voice of Dr. Brad Shope, on the faculty at Texas A& M…with visuals and a film clip

Part III, will follow , next week

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..

Piano Demon – The Teddy Weatherford Story

Sometime last August, while in Calcutta, we heard that a New York based writer was working on a project on Teddy Weatherford. His research assistant had located Weatherford’s grave in Park Street Cemetery and had contacted us via Carlton Kitto in the hope that we might have answers to some riddling questions relating to the “Godfather of Indian Jazz”.. Why we would not want to get in touch ? !!

This week sees the release of Brendan’s e-book on Teddy Weatherford,

Piano Demon

available exclusively through the Atavist on Kindle, via Amazon, as well as on iPad and iPhone!

Brendan has been a good friend to this project and we appreciate it. His research is meticulous and thorough and his writing tells the tale of a contender to Earl “Fatha” Hine’s stride piano prowess, … born in West Virginia, developed legendary piano chops in Chicago..and went on to march with the saints whils’t gigging in Calcutta !

While Brendan tells a good tale, indeed, we couldn’t resist celebrating his book with the accompanying Video which includes a rare first hand account of Teddy…. Has anybody else seen Mr. Weatherford ?

Narrating the story are, in order of appearance, Ajoy Ray (Kolkata), Jehangir Dalal (Mumbai), Dan Morgenstern (Newark), Naresh Fernandes (Mumbai), Louiz Banks (Mumbai) and our eyewitness, the last of Calcutta’s Big Band crooners !

Special thanks to Jenny Legget, the daughter of Cedric West, for photo..And the Oberoi Grand, Calcutta for their gracious co-operation.

The Gentleman behind the story…Jehangir Dalal

In Alexandria, VA lives a quiet and modest gentleman. Once from Bombay, now a Virginian, but always in Jazz..Over the last 65 years, Jehangir Dalal a respected authority on the origins of Jazz in India, has quietly researched, collected and documented how the music came to India. In fact, it was his early research, as acknowledged in Storyville magazine, that was the source for much of our information on the African-American musicians who carried Jazz from the salons of Montmatre to the grand hotels and ballrooms of Asia.

Much more than a historian and archivist, with jazz memorablia and a music collection that is emblematic of his passion for the music, he is an erudite and deeply knowledgeable expert on Jazz and its characters. A close personal friend of some well known musicians, (who may recognized in the video clip) he is deeply respected by those in the know. This week he turned 80, and admits that he remains under the continued influence ….of Jazz !

Happy Birthday Jehangir !!

Here’s a short clip that shares his story

Jehangir has been instrumental in helping to make this documentary come alive. Constantly available, and ever willing to dig through his trove, he has been a part of the Documentary project from its inception. Thanks Jehangir for all your help and support!

From the Archives

We recd some photos courtesy of Sandra Carney, in Raleigh , N.C.,
Her Mother grew up in Mhow and remembers jazz bands playing there in the late 20;s and early 30’s.. Her photographs are circa 1930

This is an interesting photo that could be an early jazz band in India. Its a beautiful image and is one the earliest photos of what is possibly a jazz band in India.. Banjos featured in early jazz bands of the time, as they were louder than guitars and provided the pulsing rhythm that got people on the dance floor. It looks like the banjo in this photo is a six string banjo which was the instrument of early jazz. There is a tenor player at the back..And the simple drum kit is very typical of early jazz “traps” , a bass drum, a snare , a cymbal, woodblock, and a triangle.

Says Sandra: ” Here is the little that I have – my Mum is very old (87) and she could not remember much to tell me and said she has no more photos, but she will ask her friends if they have any.

Her family were very musical – had 2 pianos in the house and all the children 4 boys and 2 girls could play instruments.
The boys played in bands around N. India (Railway) and at the Railway Institute in Mhow, for the dances in the 1930’s & 40’s.

– as you look at the picture.
2nd from L. holding violin is Hadyn White (Mum’s eldest brother) – he also played the piano.
2nd from R. holding mandolin is Clarence White (Mum’s brother 3rd in line).
Lady in middle is Mrs. Jones – her husband is one of the other men. Mum could not tell which one.

This was in Bandiree (sp) BB&CI -”

Thanks Sandra

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