Various Artists

Jazz and Hot Dance in India, 1926-1944

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This LP is part of a series from the British Harlequin label in the mid-1980s that features rare jazz performances recorded in countries that one would not associate with jazz. Certainly India has never been a hotbed of jazz activity, particularly during the early period covered by this album. Lequime's Grand Hotel Orchestra in 1926 is heard playing two jazz-influenced dance numbers; trumpeter Jimmy Lequime was Canadian, and his international band includes future singer Al Bowlly on banjo. Trumpeter Cricket Smith's Symphonians in 1936 were mostly comprised of Americans, including pianist Teddy Weatherford. Their version of "Taj Mahal" is an interesting historical antique. Otherwise, the music on this album dates from 1942-44 and is mostly centered around the talented, if now-forgotten Weatherford, who lived and led bands in Calcutta up until his death in 1945. Weatherford is featured on a piano solo medley, plays and sings with a trio on four numbers, leads a septet, backs singer Frank Orford, and heads a big band. In addition, there are two numbers by Reuben Solomon's Jive Boys. Definitely an LP of interest for vintage jazz collectors.