On Two, Two, Two-Two, some blasts from India's trumpet past – and present

Today, 2/2/22, lends itself to a brassy pun. Since it's too, too, too-too, Ron Gordon, a retired school teacher in California, has suggested that it be celebrated as Trumpet Day.

More details on his website here.

Since we're always up for blasts from the past, here, without aiming to be complete, are some Indian trumpet sounds.

This recording below is by a band led by the African-America trumpet player Teddy Weatherford and features three trumpet players. One of them is George Banks, father of the pianist Louis Banks.
The other two hornmen, both Anglo-Indians, studied at St Mary’s School in Byculla: Bill McDermott (pictured above) and Pat Blake (who would later sit in with the Duke Ellington band when it toured India in 1962).

Thanks to Maxine Steller for this photo. This track is from the Marco Pacci collection. Kitty Walker is the vocalist.

Cabin in the Sky was the title song of a movie of the same name directed by Vincent Minelli. The plot was a variation on the story of Faust. It was a landmark film because it featured a cast that was entirely African-American. Perhaps the most popular tune from the film is the gently swinging Taking a Chance on Love.

It's impossible to think of the trumpet in India without recalling the legendary Chic Chocolate, the stage name of Antonio Xavier Vaz, whose hot jazz stylings enchanted dancers around the country for just over three decades starting from the mid-1930s.

Thanks to Marco Pacci, there are a significant number of his records here.

Chic Chocolate also played a significant role as an arranger in the Hindi film industry – and occasionally can be seen in the background of scenes set in ballrooms.

This 1966 film, Aakhri Khat, was unusual because it put his solo in the spotlight.

The incidental music for the film was released after his passing in 1968 as an EP titled A Rememberance. Here's a track called Feel Chic.

Here's Kishore Sodha, the veteran sessions musician, with a standard.

A trumpet player whose riffs I hear every few days as I wander through Bandra Bazaar is Joe Vessaokar. He's a music teacher, funeral band leader and essential local character. Rafeeq Ellias presents a charming portrait of a musician whose scales enliven our haggling with hawkers.

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