There Will Never Be Another You


A few hours ago, a New York morning was shadowed by a passing in Kolkata (Calcutta).  It marked the end of  the earth life of Pam Crain , India’ first and only jazz diva, who , in a remarkable career that began as a teenager, way back in the 1930’s (with Sonny Lobo’s band) went on to become the jazz voice of India…After finishing her gigs on earth, she now joins the Great Gig in the Sky..in the company of the finest.

Pam

Her story is one of passion, and dedication for the music she loved, as she said “its hard work ,  it didnt come easy” …but it took her to fame, but not always fortune…respect for her outstanding and extraordinary talent, and most of all adoration and love from thousands of Pam-struck mesmerized  fans. For so many , she was the voice of jazz,  often their first introduction to live jazz in an era where live jazz of her quality was a scarce and rare treasure. They went home, with a vision of Pam in her Diva gown wafting in their heads and hearts, and a musical phrase with her voice in their ears..and from then on jazz, for many, truly began. She was the voice of the legendary Blue Fox in Calcutta (now a McDonalds) , and later at the Oberoi in Bombay.  Inspired first by Carmen McRae and Sarah Vaughn, she then, as she tells the story..”was in Bombay, and this guy who was from the American Embassy, he and his wife, insisted I go to their house, and said you must listen to this person, because you sing like her…and they put on this record and though the head phones ..i heard this voice, I was blown away , I cannot tell you how I felt ..I was in shock..”  it was the great Betty Carter..and as Mr.Louiz Banks says in our Documentary Finding Carlton – Uncovering the Story of Jazz in India..”she just wanted to sing like Betty Carter” And when she met Betty in Bombay , in the early ’80’s they bonded like a mother and daughter.. and Pam “went to Heaven, that time, when we met and hung out”. Unfortunately there are just a few recordings of Pam, but her voice is carried on in many hearts.. Here is a find from the very early 70’s’s with the Braz Gonsalves 7 Pam was gracious, charming and full of sparkle and wit. She made a tremendous effort to help document her part of the Story of Indian Jazz, for us  when we filmed in Calcutta in 2010. She was fragile and it was clearly difficult for her to participate.  But lights, camera and action,brought back the Diva, after all she was on stage, and she would perform, regardless of pain and other things that got in the way.  She was the consumate professional. Pam was full of stories.. we filmed about three hours with Pam.. stories of jazz in Calcutta, and her gigs elsewhere, of club owners, of musicians, of stories of jazz nights that only jazz people can truly believe,  of her life , her triumphs , and yes, even paths she took that did had unhappy endings. She was honest.

 My lasting memory of her is the compliment she paid after seeing our film .. “You really respected us musicians, thank you for telling all our stories”.. That was Pam, she understood what it took.

Her husband the gracious and gentle Donald Saigal and her talented musical daughter – Sonia Saigal are left with the memories. Our sincere condolences to them and her family of dear ones all over the world Rest in Peace  , Ms Crain.. There WIll Never Be Another You

There will be many other nights like this,  And I’ll be standing here with someone new.  There will be other songs to sing,  Another fall…another spring…  But there will never be another you. 

There will be other lips that I may kiss,  But they won’t thrill me,  Like yours used to do.  Yes, I may dream a million dreams,  But how can they come true,  If there will never, ever be another you?

(Listen to: There will never be another you– Harry Warren , Mack Gordon)

And here, from Finding Carlton is a tribute to Pam Crain.

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Finding Paris – The French Connection


Alix1

click to enlarge

Between 1950 and 1952,  Calcutta was home to the  “Le premier négre du jazz, made in France” (= The first “black” French jazz musician) – Alix Combelle and the “modern” sound of his sextet – three saxes, and a rhythm section.

We followed up in a  2011 Update with interesting documentation including a photo of the band in Calcutta.

Jhaveri 1955-JazzHot

Next, in 2012- came the French Connection, and our friendship with Stephane Dorin, who shared this documentation written by the remarkable “Godfather of Jazz in India”  – Niranjan Jhaveri, found in  Charles Delaunay and Hughes Panassié ‘s  Jazz Hot Magazine  (1955)

And now in 2013..more news of the French jazzmen in India ? Continue reading

We’ve come a long way, baby !


And though we don’t endorse the product that is the subject of the iconic slogan from the Mad Men Era,  and can’t help but smile when we hear the bubblegum anthem from Josie and the Pussycats ,  and as for Fatboy Slim   well….we have come a long way! .

Who would have ‘thunk” that a film about Jazz in India would feature at the first ever International Jazz Day Celebration at the UN ?!

And today, on April 30, 20112 , as declared in PI 2027 issued at the United Nations General Assembly “The Committee on Information of the United Nations General Assembly, in association with the United Nations Academic Impact and the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, will organize a special event to celebrate the first International Jazz Day on 30 April 2012.”

Yes,  Jazz  truly transcends languages, borders and all the divisions that we choose to create between ourselves.. And this great music found its way to India almost 80 years ago, brought there by a diaspora of talented African-American musicians who left behind a legacy that survived them and even wove its way into India’s popular music.

Herb Flemming (Nicolaaih El-Michelle) was one of those pioneers.. (click here for a Wiki entry, and stay tuned for more info in a future post) Here is a clip from the film that tells his story in India..

We are greatly honored to premiere Finding Carlton – on International Jazz Day…when India joins in the celebration of this truly international music with a tale of how jazz travelled to India.. Finding Carlton – Uncovering the Story of Jazz in India !

Made possible by the support and trust of a group of amazing people from all over the world..and yes the invaluable goodwill of all the readers of this blog and our Facebook friends… Thank You !….as we all stand together and say

We have come a long way ..who would have “thunk” it ? !

Thanks StarringNYC !!


We are delighted to share this video about Finding Carlton, thank you Sabrina Buckwalter and StarringNYC.com

http://starringnyc.com/2012/04/ny-filmmaker-traces-the-story-of-jazz-in-india/

Filmmaker Susheel Kurien set out to discover how jazz arrived in India for his documentary, Finding Carlton: Uncovering the story of jazz in India.

What he discovered was far richer and more complex than he expected.
Watch this clip for an overview of the documentary and questions with the filmmaker and vocalist Christine Correa, featured in the film.
For more information on this documentary, please visit: http://www.findingcarlton.com

On the Radio – Thanks CBC Radio !


CBC Radio carried the Finding Carlton story on Dispatches with Rick MacInnes-Rae

Dispatches is CBC Radio’s award winning program – broadcast nationally (CBC Radio One)  on Thursday’s with a repeat on Sunday. It is also carried worldwide by Sirius  on Friday night with a repeat on Sunday night on Sirius satellite radio.

To listen to CBC Radio Dispatches coverage on Finding Carlton – Uncovering the Story of Jazz in India click on the link or the speaker icon

CBC Radio Dispatches – Finding Carlton

Thank you CBC Radio, Rick and Alison Masemann (producer, Dispatches) for Finding Carlton !

TUNE INTO DISPATCHES VIA PODCAST AND RSS FEED AT

http://www.cbc.ca/podcasting/includes/dispatches.xml

Education Presentation – Preview


We were delighted  to preview our Education Presentation on Finding Carlton – Uncovering the Story of Jazz in India at the RIVAA Gallery , December 11,2011.
Our groundbreaking documentary film  tells a little known story of the Jazz diaspora.  This  inspirational film is a cross cultural journey that is endearing and entertaining while educating viewers on a historical arc that spans from 1926 to 1978.

Alberta Hunter – In Calcutta ?


Prelude:  It was late summer 1982.  I had heard about a 82 year old blueswoman who drew in the crowd at  the Cookery, in the Village…and went there to stand at the bar.   And Alberta Hunter cast her spell on yet another, one magic night in the summer of 1982

Alberta brought a purity and a deep understanding to the blues. She lived the ‘blues” and like many a musician, her life was poured out every night she performed.  If you have never heard about Alberta Hunter, check out this video of Alberta in her 80’s!

And the Ethel Waters song that she revived and made famous.. My Handyman !

But why the title of this post ? Continue reading

Thank you – Sean Jacobs- Africa is a Country


We are most delighted that the story of this Film is finding a community of interest…all over the world..

Here is Sean Jacobs’ post on the Africa is a Country blog

Thank youSean
Please click here to read his blog post Indian Jazz,  and we reproduce the text below Continue reading

On JAZZ LIVES – Every Picture Tells a Story


Michael Steinman is the archivist and jazz writer behind JAZZ LIVES , recently nominated as one of the Best Jazz Blogs of 2009 by the Jazz Journalists Association. Michael has a lot to be proud of, including a “community of readers it has attracted from Long Island to Istanbul”. JAZZ LIVES consistently shows up in the Top 10 jazz blogs worldwide !

  We thank Michael and JAZZ LIVES for sharing our story, but we owe him and the readers of JAZZ LIVES an apology. To  read JAZZ LIVES just click on the link below http://jazzlives.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/finding-carlton-discovering-jazz-in-india/

It turns out that we were inaccurate in referencing the photo that we sent him (at left) as “Bombay Bands play tribute to Benny Goodman”.

We now learn (thanks to detail from sax playing archivist Nakul Mehta, in Bombay, and our overflowing digital archives) that it was a tribute to Glenn Miller ! …but there was also a tribute event to Benny Goodman…

And because every picture tells a story …here’s the story behind the photo and both those events Continue reading