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 the company of the finest.


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.

Finding Paris – The French Connection


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

The French Connection

Four years ago, when we began this project, we had little idea of the interest that might surround it.. and apart from a few whisky sodden minds here and there, we were under the distinct impression that interest in similar research and uncovering was restricted to the aforesaid flotsam and jetsam of peripheral jazz trivia.. How wrong we were.. and little did we know at that time that scholars and learned souls were steadily pursuing and uncovering more of the the rich history that has materialized into this film.. And we regret most heartily that we not privileged to meet them along the way and benefit from their academic scholarship..

And thus , this French Connection

In 2011 we wrote about how the legendary French tenor man Alix Combelle.. found his way to Calcutta


….and then, then in 2011,  more about Alix Combelle…and then, in response,  from Our Gentleman of Perpetual Indian Jazz Archives (aka Naresh Fernandes the author of the very fine book Taj Mahal Foxtrot)  shared with us Niranjan Jhaveri’s 1953 review of Alix’s performance in Calcutta.. but was this the only French Jazz Connection to our continuing story ?

Well, around the spring of 2011, the Finding Carlton Blog received the following letter from France:

I came across your Bluerhythm website, and was so delighted to see someone has done a documentary on Cartlon Kitto.

Stephane Dorin , in Calcutta 1997.. working on his Research

I met him 15 years ago in Calcutta, at the beginning of my PhD on jazz and rock culture in Calcutta. I also met Arthur Gracias, Amit Datta, Rubien Rebeiro, Anto Menezes and my friend Tuki from Krosswindz.

I have been to Calcutta around 10 times, the last one was in 2009. …. I am a social scientist in Paris,…..I mostly wrote in French, but I recently published an article on Jazz and race in colonial India, in Jazz Research Journal. It might be of some interest to you…This month also, I am publishing another article, of a larger scope, but in French, in the anthropology review L’Homme (issue 202, 2012).


But, wait,, it turns out that Stephane Dorin’s, scholarly work, Jazz and Race in Colonial India was rich in detail and explored the nuances of culture that gave rise to the jazz culture that prevailed thereafter.  His research included study of materials available from the Roy Butler Collection, in Chicago…from where arrived this image of a contract that lured an American jazzman to play in India.

Stephane also opined , quite succinctly, that although Bombay with its many Goan musicians had a rich jazz history, it was Calcutta , that in many ways was the “mothership”..  he says..  “Anglo-Indian musicians acted as go-betweens, passing down the theoretical knowledge of western harmony as well as the practice of western instruments to the generations of post-Independence India. Moreover, they were the first Indian musicians to perform jazz and blues standards in Calcutta or Bombay, around World War II. Thus, they played a major role in the diffusion of jazz and blues music in India.”

In our film,  Finding Carlton, we share the story of Herb Flemming the “first Jazz Ambassador”who landed in Bombay in 1933, after a brief rest stop in Bombay, proceeded almost immediately to Calcutta and the Grand Hotel..

In the summer of 2011 we had the opportunity to meet with Stephane and get to know this passionate scholar who continues to have focus on the “Circulation of Jazz outside the United States”..

Stephane Dorin:
Maître de conférences à l’université Paris 8 Chercheur en délégation au Centre Européen de sociologie et de sciences politiques (CESSP) UMR 8209 CNRS/EHESS/Université Paris1-Panthéon-SorbonneCentre Pouchet, CESSP, 59-61 rue Pouchet, 75849 Paris Cedex 17

Stephane has been diligently working on uniting scholars from around the world who have looked at this ..and as his network has expanded  it now spans to academics at various universities. He has had remarkable outreach and will hopefully be able to unite a worldwide team of authorities in seminal conference …where for the first time they will look at how jazz cultures were birthed and flourished outside the United States.. and hopefully as they pursue this discourse , there will be Finding Carlton (and) Uncovering the Story of jazz in India

Thank you – The Telegraph – Calcutta

The Telegraph’s Aarti Dua contacted us about the Film, intrigued by its journey. The Sept 4, 2011 issue of the Telegraph carries her piece on Finding Carlton..

Thank you Aarti and the Telegraph. We much appreciate your interest in the film and its journey!

And just a small correction – Although we did preview this film in Bombay, we did not screen it at the Taj Hotel, Bombay, as reported…

Black Soul of Calcutta and Mussoorie

Nathan Rabe , who blogs as “Ajnabi” -from Melbourne, Victoria..wrote to us:
” What a story. Thank you for sharing it. I have just found your blog and have a passionate interest in music India and Anglo Indians..I am not one but have many friends from Allahabad, Karnataka, Madras etc.
– Ajnabi

We introduced Nathan to our friend Dr. Brad Shope (search this blog for more info about Brad’s contribution to this project) and the rest is on his Washermans Dog blog

The Ajnabi’s blog carried this post …worth the read ..and scroll down to the end of his post for a listen!

FEEDBACK – An Article about the Film

The Indian Express was kind enough to carry an article about the film in both their Delhi and Mumbai editions..We much appreciate their point of view, and genuinely thank them for all their efforts including a very detailed read of our blog and various websites…most importantly we thank them for recognizing the spirit of the film and its focus..and it is very respectful of the musicians involved.

..But we can’t help wishing that their fact checking department stuck with the facts! ..Its nice to be called a professional filmmaker, gain a few more years, to hear that Carlton played with Monk (!) and to learn that we studied with Warren Pinckney in 1981!
While we are at it, can we also lose a few pounds ? 🙂


From the Finding Carlton Team :  Many thanks Georgina and the Indian Express for your kind words and generous appreciation of this effort..!!

Correction: Carlton Kitto did not play with Monk or Dizzy…He did in fact sit in with and/or accompany Charlie Byrd, Larry Coryell, Stan Getz, Dr, Billy Taylor, and the Ellington Band, among others

Serendipity..Kismat..La Chance..Fate

We have written this blog for close to three years now..and it has had about 10,000 reads. Sometimes we wonder who all the readers are..we dont know more than a few of them…or where they are from.

About a year ago we received a message from a reader of the blog in the UK.. she said (last names privacy protected):

I have been on all sorts of website trying to find information about my father who is an Anglo- Indian and I found this site. As I was reading through it. I remembered that my father was a very skilled drummer , one of the best I was told. He was a jazz musicians from Calcutta. I do not have any picture or anything to send you.

However I was wondering do you know musicians from Calcutta who might know my father, His name is Eugene M . I have a real sister and a step sister Melisa M and Lulu M. The women my father was married to or ??? Marie Bartley ? and Donna I have been told she is dead.

Unfortunately or fortunately I was given up for adoption. I have been trying for many years to find my father.
I would really appreciate if you could ask your musicians friends from Calcutta about my father, Eugene M. He is very well known amongst these musicians. I know what he looks like as I was about six when I last saw him and would love to see him again. No matter what.

Would you be able to give me some leads or names of some people you know in Calcutta that can help.
I would really appreciate any help. I would also really appreciate a reply anything.

I would love to see my dad again.

Well, we shared her request through the network of this film and inquiries seemed to have gone across the oceans to Australia , Canada, and yes India.but no one could come back with anything…

The next letter was a few months ago…it speaks for itself

Thank you very much for replying. I am so excited. I can remember a few names of the Musician that were given to me to : Ian Casio / Cassio/ Kasio a guitarist; Luie King a drummer,he has three children’s Jackie, Marylyn and Shane King; Jeff a guitarist ( lots of Tattoo’s on his chest) There were a Group of four men from Goa , They played in the Taj Hotel in New Delhi. I can only remember the Singer’s name Cyril.

There was a Saxophone player from Goa . I cannot remember his name .

I went over to India about two years ago to trace or get some information and returned feeling totally broken Hearted and very sad. I went to Cochin, old fort area, went to all the churches, schools. In one of the Girls Schools the nuns actually recognised the name M and showed me pictures of two Girls but they were not my sisters. It was the Nuns that told me that Lulu M and my father moved to the Nilgiris area.

I have searched on face book and sent a message to a person by the name of Lulu M but have not received a reply.
I was going to advertise in the India papers and almost handed over £10k Rupees went I realised that I was going to be taken for a ride. So I very cleverly managed to walk away change where I was staying.

I could not stay in India it was too depressing and had to head back to London. I felt so sad and could not bear to think that my father or sisters were suffering.vI was also told that my sister Melissa was put in an orphanage in Bangalore named Douglas Memorial Home but I could not find any place by that name.

Donna (step mother) she has a number of family members: Adrian , one of her brothers, I think their mother’s name was Shelia. It will be a real miracle if I find my dad and Sisters.

Thank you very much for taking the time to write to me . I really do appreciate it. Please let me know if there is anything I can do.

Thank you very much again and please keep in touch.

Once again, we tried the network…nothing..

And them, just yesterday morning, we received a call from a journalist in Delhi who was interested in speaking to us about the film.. Strangely, the sound of her last name seemed to mirror the anxious letter writer’s search. We asked a hesitant question..was it possible?

Unbelievably ..YES..and as of yesterday afternoon, two half sisters were reunited..and the letter writer’s search was concluded..

Serendipity, Kismat, La Chance, Fate


In the early 50’s Jazz in India was largely ‘stuck’ in a time warp..the big bands  may have been replaced by smaller combo’s ..but what they played was “swing thing’..however a few musicians and fans had their ears tuned to new sounds that were coming in ..faster tempo’s,  rhythmic accents and counterpoints , improvisation over extended chords , and most of all re-harmonization and melodic invention at a whole new level..

In this video, a jazz fan recalls how he came upon the New Sound

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