Daily Archives: September 14, 2011

“FINDING CARLTON”: DISCOVERING JAZZ IN INDIA

This remarkable photograph was taken in the Fifties — the saxophonists and other players are assembled to pay tribute to Benny Goodman.  That in itself would not be unusual.  But that the tribute took place in Bombay is a surprise to those who do not associate jazz and India. 

The photograph comes to us through the kindness of Susheel J. Kurien, the creator of a new documentary, FINDING CARLTON, a film about the story of jazz in India.  Here’s how Susheel describes his film:

Through the portraits of a few remaining survivors, it tells the unknown and mesmerizing story of a bygone age of jazz in India.  Through archival material and poignant encounters with a maverick bebop guitarist, jazz fans, and other artists, the film uncovers an untold story of cultural cross-pollination: born of pre-war African-American diaspora, American Army presence in Calcutta during the Second World War; and of US State Department sponsored jazz tours in India.  The film also illuminates the influence of American jazz on Bollywood. Artfully edited in a rhythmic, multi-layered, warmly intimate and affectionate style, FINDING CARLTON revives the intense power of a largely undocumented jazz movement, weaving memory, concert footage and expert commentary with scenes of moving reunion between elder Indian jazz pioneers. Centered on human chracters with idiosyncratic lifestyles and built around rich archival material including audio, it progressively gathers force to relate the story of an entire Indian jazz generation.  FINDING CARLTON is currently in production and welcomes the support of those who would like to help complete this film.  Conceived by Susheel J,. Kurien, a Half Diminished Production in collaboration with Chrysalis Films.  Thanks to Mansoor Khan for the “Bollywood” scenes from Teesri Manzil, used with permission from the owner. Please contact: findingcarlton@gmail.com for more information. 

You can see the trailer on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yX0OH-t8WZY&feature=channel_video_title

And, for more information and other scenes from the film, visit Susheel’s blog:

http://bluerhythm.wordpress.com/

I have to point out that the documentary is indeed artfully done, and it is also the only film I’ve ever seeen to devote any attention to the masterful African-American hot pianist Teddy Weatherford.

CHAMPIONS: THE RETURN OF THE REYNOLDS BROTHERS AND FRIENDS (Sept. 2, 2011)

A friend who reads JAZZ LIVES teasingly emailed me, “Hey, Michael, looks like your blog is now the Official Reynolds Brothers Fan Club site.”  Sounds like a good thing to me: maybe we can commission Katie Cavera to design a button to be sold at gigs.

Until that day, when we have a clubhouse and hold meetings, here’s more evidence: the set played by the Brothers (and friends) at the Sweet and Hot Music Festival on September 2, 2011.  It took place in Champions, the appropriately-named sports bar in the LAX Marriott — where beautiful music, subtle and hot, sprang forth among trays of hot chicken wings and the local IPA. 

For the occasion, the Brothers were there: that’s Ralf Reynolds (washboard, vocals); John Reynolds (guitar, whistling, vocals); Katie Cavera (string bass, vocals); Marc Caparone (cornet, vocals) — with friendly assistance from Carl Sonny Leyland (piano), and Larry Wright (alto sax, ocarina).  Later on our friend Dan Levinson (clarinet) came to bask in the sublime heat.

Showing a divine willingness to please, the Brothers offered I WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR YOU:

Honoring Mister Crosby and Mister Condon (who were friends), John whistles us into LOVE IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER:

In honor of Israel Baline, here’s some genuine optimism in BLUE SKIES:

Marc Caparone makes Henry “Red” Allen come alive again — maintaing his individuality in the process, which Red always did, on ROSETTA:

Carl Sonny Leyland likes to play SONG OF THE WANDERER (always a good thing) at a very quick rocking tempo — I  imagine the Reno Club version!  What a fine jazz pianist he is, and how he sparks this already searing group (joined by Dan Levinson):

I don’t know if the Marriott parking lot had extra-large spaces for desert caravans (in Los Angeles, that would surprise no one) but the Brothers closed their rocking set with HINDUSTAN:

Thank you, Ralf, John, Marc, Katie, Carl, Larry, and Dan . . . for keeping live music alive!