The UNiversal language – with no boundaries

Join in the celebration…Wonderful concerts – streaming live worldwide at FIRST INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY SITE PARIS – NEW ORLEANS- NEW YORK



And watch and listen to what Herbie Hancock has to say at the opening event in Paris:


Jazz on Film

Jazz found its way into film a long long time ago.. the “talkies” provided a unique form to meld sound of swing with its complimentary physical presence..and Hollywood and other epic-centers of film  found ways and means to fuse the music into their creations.  And the interplay of jazz and the screen took on some incredible forms and fusions.and an interesting variant from India, Bollywood, which we refer to in our film Finding Carlton – Uncovering the Story of Jazz in India.

And the humor that is often inherent in jazz performance was also recognized by the industry,often because an artist or producer was a jazz fan… and here are two timeless examples..

Jerry Lewis in The Errand Boy (1961) Continue reading

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.

Film Review – On Jazz Lives

Jazz Lives  is written by Michael Steinman..who lives and breathes jazz, and with it all its arcana, detail and the intricacies and nuances of its history. If you want to talk Jazz, talk to Michael !

Here is the Jazz Lives review of the film …thanks !!


I’ve written a few lines about Susheel Kurien’s new documentary, but last week, the Beloved and I saw a rough cut of it at DCTV in downtown New York City.  I am delighted to be able to write that “FINDING CARLTON: UNCOVERING THE STORY OF JAZZ IN INDIA” is a deeply rewarding film.

Even people who are not terribly interested in jazz in the intricate ways some of us are will also find much to admire in the portraits captured in it.  And the jazz-fanciers in the audience sat up, enthralled, throughout it.

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

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

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!

Incredible Ellington — in India ! Pt I

The search for Archival material for our documentary film Finding Carlton – Uncovering the Story of Jazz in 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…

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

Taj Mahal Foxtrot

We are delighted that our friend and collaborator (indeed, our lead historian for Bombay jazz history) Naresh Fernandes is ready to unleash his book !.. Great work  Naresh  !  This book reflects many years of research and the gathering of a wonderful set of archival material that tells the story of how Bombay and Jazz co-habited, and indeed, gave birth to an era when the swinging sounds could be heard in many a venue.. We are much much appreciative of Naresh’s participation and passionate support for the documentary, and of course for the generous outpouring of archival materials, many of which have found a home in the film..

Here is what he says about his upcoming book:

Dear all,
Ahead of the publication of Taj Mahal Foxtrot: The Story of Bombay’s Jazz Age, I’m really trying to overcome my technophobia. The website for the book is now up and running. Over the next few months, I’m going to be posting outakes and riffs on the book, as well as archival audio clips on the site. My first post is about how the drummer Oliver Tines, who was once a regular member of Louis Armstrong’s band, ended up spending his last days in Satara.
TajMahal Foxtrot also has a Facebook page.

Naresh’s pre-launch website has already generated feedback and hopefully more and more archival anecdotes and material will be result….Gordon Rodricks in Bombay responded to Naresh’s email and  shared  this article “the last Gig” – about the tail end of the jazz era in Bombay ..part of his collection of “Jazz in Bombay” history…Thanks Gordon

Tracing the story – now back to 1922

Thanks to Abe Thomas in Los Angeles, we were made aware of Astri Ghosh (New Delhi) and her efforts to document an oral history of Jazz musicians in India. Astri has shared this interesting article by Burnet Hershey  from the New York Times Magazine and Review of Books – 1922 – a jazz journey along the “Jazz Latitude”,–round the world from San Francis to New York, via Japan, Saigon, Siam, India, Egypt, Jerusalem, Monte Carlo, and Paris….Astri graciously quotes what Burnet Hershey  has to say about Jazz in India at that time:

“In Calcutta, as in Bombay and throughout India, where the English civil service man makes his home, and where a handful of white business, army and professional men make up the European colony, Jazz is welcomed as a “lifesaver”. In this country of few diversions, it relieves the tedium of routine existence. India sounds like a paradise for romance, but the colonist, the army officer who has spent many months and years amid the “dirt of Asia,” is blase and weary of the life. He has turned to bridge and poker. Now he gladly seizes upon jazz. And there is always the “stengha,” the whisky-soda, faithful auxiliary of jazz.

In India, the full state of jazz has not yet been evolved from ragtime, although the frequent streams of returning officials from England all bring with them new cargoes of tunes – direct from New york via Leicester Square. But by the time they reach there, they are old and shopworn.

Copyright New York TImes

Journey along the Indian coast in the Arabian Sea to India’s little brother Ceylon, where you find jazz in its most antiquated state. It isn’t jazz, but they think it is. They have only arrived at Down in Jungle Town. The record, played on a venerable gramaphone, was one of the old ones which announced the song and the band. But the one-step is there. On the terrace of the Galle Face Hotel, on the edge of the Arabian Sea, an Arabian moon, swaying cocoanut trees, chirping monkeys and cawing of big birds mingled with the strains of the local band”.

Although a somewhat disparaging view of Jazz in India, never the less, an important historical document that references Jazz in India – 90 years ago…

Click here for the entire article, Jazz Latitude,by Burnet Hershey, June 25, 1922, Copyright the New York TImes

Thanks Astri , and do keep us posted on your Oral History project !!

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