Jazz Research Journal, Vol 4, No 2 (2010)

Jazz and race in colonial India: The role of Anglo-Indian musicians in the diffusion of jazz in Calcutta

Stephane Dorin
Issued Date: 28 Mar 2012


Musical forms such as ragtime and jazz were played in Calcutta’s hotels and clubs, important institutions in elites’ social life in colonial India. The musicians could be European
or American, when a foreign band was hired for a season. Some of these formations tended to include Anglo-Indian members. 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.

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DOI: 10.1558/jazz.v4i2.123


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