2014042120200331 (BBC7)
20200330 (BBC7)

Sarfraz Manzoor explores a fascinating period of music history in India when American violinist Leon Abbey brought his jazz band to Bombay in the 1930's, leaving behind an incredible legacy.

The early years of jazz calls to mind places such as New Orleans, Chicago and Paris. What is often overlooked is that the Indian city of Bombay, now Mumbai, had its very own thriving jazz scene in the 1930's that lasted three decades.

Manzoor charts this extraordinary story of jazz in India when some of the world's most accomplished musicians including Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong brought their talents to the East and mixed with performers such as Chic Chocolate, Micky Correa, Teddy Weatherford and Frank Fernand -all regarded in India today as jazz legends. This cultural exchange produced music that wove threads into Bombay's story. These threads would later become inextricably a part of the city's own definitive creation: Bollywood, and its music in particular.

Discovering India's jazz heritage and the areas the music has been preserved Manzoor travels to Mumbai to visit Naresh Fernandes author of the critically acclaimed book The Taj Mahal Foxtrot. He meets with musicians and singers along with the widow of Micky Correa and the daughters of Chic Chocolate and explores the development of jazz with saxophonist Braz Gonsalves, the first man to play Be-Bop in India.

Examining the music and legacy of the Indian Jazz legends he searches for their impact today and his journey ends in Goa, now regarded as the new 'Jazz Capitol of India' by music promoter Colin D'Cruz .

Producer: Stephen Garner

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2014.

Sarfraz Manzoor explores a fascinating period of jazz music history in India.