14 Jul 2011, 10:47am
India Jazz music:


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  • 78 rpm Records of Indian Music: The Peerless Orchestra

    Here are four sides on the Zonophone label from the Peerless Orchestra — a name that has apparently had a significant franchise over the years. As in the case of the Manhattan Jazz Band, these recordings were probably made in England and released in India for the benefit of the British expats.

    It ain’t Indian music…but it’s certainly evocative of a certain sort of nostalgia, and I will eventually get my entire library of 78s uploaded, so you should get used to some of this stuff now. There’s lots more where that came from.


    Oh, You Beautiful Doll

    Hoopoe Kack (WTF? SRSLY?)

    Miami (A Southern Idyll)

    The Horse Trot

    78 rpm Records of Indian Music: The Manhattan Jazz Band

    Here’s a change of pace: a disc from the “Manhattan Jazz Band,” released on the Calcutta-based Zonophone label. My best guess is this was from some point in the 1920s or 30s; the music is what was called jazz at the time — by people who didn’t know what jazz was.

    In the late 1990s I picked up a great many 78s at a small store in Bombay’s Chor Bazaar. Among them were a few of these recordings of “English Music.” Apparently these were mostly recorded in England and released in India, for the enjoyment of the Brits. I had a brief fantasy that these were Indian musicians hired to play this repertoire, which would have been ethnomusicologically fascinating. Turns out that’s not what happened. Ah, well.

    The amount of crud on the surface of the disc is beyond imagination.

    Enjoy “Everybody’s Jazzing Now”:

    And here’s “That Big Jazz Band”: