In 1935, a violinist from Minnesota named Leon Abbey brought the first 'all negro' jazz band to Bombay, leaving behind a legacy that would last three decades. In a decade, swing would find its way to the streets of India as it influenced Hindi film music - the very soundtrack of Indian life. The optimism of jazz became an important element in the tunes that echoed the hopes of newly independent India. This book tells a story of India - and especially of the city of Bombay - through the lives of a menagerie of geniuses, strivers, and eccentrics, both Indian and American, who helped jazz find a home in the sweaty subcontinent. They include the burly African- American pianist Teddy Weatherford; the Goan trumpet player Frank Fernand, whose epiphanic encounter with Mahatma Gandhi drove him to try to give jazz an Indian voice; Chic Chocolate, who was known as the Louis Armstrong of India; and Anthony Gonsalves, who lent his name to one of the most popular Bollywood tunes ever; and many more. Taj Mahal Foxtrot, at its heart, is a history of Bombay in swing time.
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