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

Video Clip from the Film- An Ellington Story (without the Duke!)


The Ellington band toured India in 1963 ..and their sound was heard by thousands of Indians..Among them a young guitarist in Madras (now Chennai).. In this video, Carlton tells the story of how he met Ellington.

The Ellington band arrived in India on September 21, 1963..After concerts in New Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore, the band arrived in Madras on Saturday 6th, October . On Sunday , the 7th ,the played at the Music Academy Auditorium, Madras.  Ellington however was not with the band, he had taken ill in New Delhi, and stayed there recovering, while the band continued its tour.. So who was it who spoke to Carlton ? Billy Strayhorn ?  or Harry Carney , the official deputy band leader ? (Strayhorn filled the Duke’s spot at the piano) ..Our opinion is that it was probably Carney, who as deputy, would have the authority to allow Carlton to sit in on the rehearsal.

We dont know for sure, but in Carlton’s memory ..it was the Duke..and so it shall be for the purposes of this story !

The Indian Express, Madras , October 1963, accurately reported “ELLINGTONIANS STORM MADRAS” …and here is the review and some details of the band’s schedule Continue reading

Incredible Ellington — in India ! Pt I


The search for Archival material for our documentary film Finding Carlton – Uncovering the Story of Jazz in India..is a story in itself…Here is how we came across some rare (and probably the only footage) of Ellington in India – 1963 !!

The Ellington band toured India in 1963. This was their first ever visit to Asia and the Middle East..and it was a wide ranging series of concerts in Syria, Jordan, Afghanistan, India, Ceylon, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey !!!

With the support of dedicated jazz fans in India, we had started assembling a collection of photos, anecdotes, a first hand encounter in Calcutta and even concert programs, and yes tickets ! but what was missing was crucially important audio, and the holy grail – film footage.

Thanks to Jehangir Dalal, We came across a link in an archive of Duke Ellington tour information that hinted that the tour has been filmed in various countries , including India.. we tracked down the first link and it turned out to be from a concert in Iran..and then through an archivist in Belgium we came across some footage , stored in the National Archives in Maryland, that was not cataloged as footage from India..but had 2 or 3 clues that gave away its location..

Well, it was quite a hunt, that took us from New York, to Washington D.c , and then to Brussels, and back to an archive in Virgina…and what we unearthed is a treat , a delight for the eyes and ears…and yes the sound !!! Here is a brief except…

THE CLUES:
a) Marigolds spelling out the THE DUKE – Location: Shanmukhananda Hall, Bombay, 10th OCtober 1963
b) Chicago Radio on mike stand (with a classic Shure !) only in India !
c) AIR on mike
d) audience ..duh

In a future post , we will share our findings about how a Bombay born Jazz Trumpeter played with the Ellington Band..along with some interesting archival photos , and yes more video and music from the Ellington India tour

The Paul Gonsalves and Teddy Weatherford – Resolved ?


In a prior post , (see Paul Gonsalves- Teddy Weatherford) my research suggested that the Paul Gonsalves listed in Teddy Weatherford’s Calcutta discography was the Paul Gonsalves of (later) Ellington fame.  Understandably, there were various reactions from the readers of this blog that challenged and questioned this possibility..Thats why we are jazz people..its a personal music !

The issues raised ranged from whether Paul Gonsalves was ever in Calcutta, to an insightful observation that on the Teddy Weatherford recording the listed Paul Gonsalves played Alto, while the real Paul Gonsalves “only recorded on Tenor”

Scroll down on this link to see  comments on that post .

Great feedback!

I continued to research this possibility , and found several sources that authenticated that Paul Gonsalves did serve as a young serviceman in Calcutta, and that he had played Alto in his youth. But, frankly, the reference to the Alto Sax continued to elude me.

I responded:

“Whats also interesting is that unlike popular belief, although he did play tenor in the Ellington band, the real Paul Gonsalves did in fact play alto. (Show me a sax player who cannot double !  )..There are people who   state emphatically that he was only a tenor player, but as I said, show me a sax player who cannot double ! In fact both Coltrane and Jimmy Heath migrated from Alto to Tenor

When Paul Gonsalves  played with Sabby Lewis in Boston, on his return from service in India, in the 46-47  period he played Alto.  In 1948 on a Radio transcription with Basie, he played guitar !

Regardless, we know for a fact that the famous Paul Gonsalves was a) indeed in Calcutta at the same time as Weatherford  b) did play with Weatherford and c) probably played on Weatherfords broadcasts for Armed Forces Radio Service

What is also a fact that the young Paul who was in Calcutta in 1942 or thereabouts had not yet developed his fame or renown, or his troublesome relationship with heroin and alcohol  (that came later in 1950 with the Gillespie band). He was just another young “colored” serviceman in Calcutta – (actually Cap Verdean, not African American)  This probably is why nobody seems to remember him.. he was just a horn playing serviceman”

Just today, I received from Jenny Legget, the daughter of the astoundingly talented Cedric West who played with Teddy’s band from 1942 through 1945 , an article from Storyville Magazine (June-July 1976) on Teddy’s band that clearly states:

” There were however, many “sitters- in” for despite the drabness of the band’s daytime repetoire, at night it was one of the hottest bands in Calcutta.  The most famous of the ‘extra’s’ was Paul Gonsalves , then a truck driver in the Quartermaster’s Corps. who used to borrow an alto sax from the Services’ club and jam with the band”

The article also quotes Reuben Solomon (alto sax) (leader of the Jive Boys) ” When Teddy wanted to play, he could play, but he didnt want to play often. He would get the boys offstage for two brackets with the rhythm section and the front line, more Dixie format, but modern for those days. Gonsalves was there when Teddy had the jazz bit. Teddy, the rhythm section, Gonsalves and myself”.

Thanks Jenny, for digging this up along with all the material on Cedric West,..who will soon have a post on this blog about his guitar talent and story.

Did Paul Gonsalves of the Ellington band record with Teddy Weatherford?


In last weeks video sequence,  Paul Gonsalves - copyright Getty ImagesAjoy Ray talked about Teddy Weatherford at the Grand. Later, Ian Zachariah told us a delightful story about Paul Gonsalves and the Ellington band.

It turns out that after moving to Calcutta from Bombay , Teddy recorded extensively while in Calcutta and liner notes from that time indicate that his typical line up (Teddy Weatherford & His Band) included: Louiz’ dad, The Nepali jazzman George Banks (real name: Pushkar Bahadur Buddhaprithi),and  Bill McDermott (tp) George Leonardi (tb) the Burmese  Reuben Solomon (as,cl) Sonny Saldana (reeds) , the swinging Burmese guitarist Cedric West (g,tb) Tony Gonsalves (b) Trevor McCabe (d) Teddy Weatherford (p,vcl)

In May 1943, Teddy recorded with an expanded horn section – adding Roy Butler and Rudy Cotton on tenor, retaining  George Banks,  Cedric West and Reuben Soloman, and adding personnel who may have well been American and other servicemen,

And here lies the mystery – Did Paul Gonsalves of the Ellington band ever record with Teddy Weatherford in Calcutta ?

First ,  there are two points of view about this line up

In the Organissimo blog, there is a post by “Chuck Nessa” http://www.organissimo.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=39779&hl=Gonsalves

that shows the line up for the recording

Teddy Weatherford and his Band : George Banks, Bill McDermott, Pat Blake (tp) George Leonardi (tb) Reuben Soloman, Paul Gonsalves (as,cl) Roy Butler, Ruby Cotton (ts) Teddy Weatherford (p,vcl) Cedric West (g,tb) Tony Gonsalves (b) Jimmy Smith (d) Kitty Walker (vcl)
Calcutta, c. May 1943
CEI22342-1 The lady who didn’t believe in love (rw vcl) Col (In)FB40315, Harlequin (E)HQ2013
CEI22344-1 Out of this world (kw vcl) – , –

and again in May 1994, the same line up , with Bridget Moore replacing Kitty Walker on vcl

CEI22808-1 Ice cold Katie (bm vcl) Col (In)FB40396, Harlequin (E)HQ2013

However, in  Ross Laird’s extensive

A DRAFT DISCOGRAPHY OF WESTERN STYLE JAZZ, & DANCE BANDS & ENGLISH LANGUAGE POPULAR VOCALS RECORDED IN INDIA 1926-1954

those same recordings are identified with the following line ups:

TEDDY WEATHERFORD & HIS BAND

George Banks-Bill McDermott-Pat Blake-tpts; ?George Leonardi-tbn; Reuben Solomon-clt-as; Roy Butler-Rudy Cotton-ts; Teddy Weatherford-piano-vocal; Cedric West-gtr-tbn; Tony Gonsalves-bass; Jimmy Smith-dms; Kitty Walker-vocals

CEI-22342-1 CEI-22343-1 CEI-22344 CEI-22345-1 CEI-22346 CEI-22347-1

The lady who didn’t believe in love (vTW) Out of this world (vKW)

and again

Includes Teddy Weatherford-piano; Willis Mullings-Bridgette Moe-vocals

CEI-22806-1 CEI-22807-1 CEI-22808-1 CEI-22809-1

Thank your lucky stars (vWM) I’m ridin’ for a fall (vWM) Ice Cold Katie (vBM) Goodnight, good neighbour (vBM)    Col FB40395 Col FB40395 Col FB40396

So there we have ,two sources, pointing to the same recordings , one identifying a Paul Gonsalves on tenor, one excluding his sax !

The next question is  – Was this the Paul Gonsalves of  Ellington Band fame ?

See below, in response, the illuminating comments to this post from the two jazz fans who are living repositories the story of jazz in india – Jehangir Dalal and Promodh Malhotra