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Taj Mahal Foxtrot: The Story of Bombay's Jazz Age Hardcover – November 16, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


'Fernandes is among the best narrative historians in India today, and his new book is a triumph of storytelling. Taj Mahal Foxtrot's got the beat.' Suketu Mehta 'The pictures match the words, producing this jewel of a book, which I read with pleasure, profit, and, above all, admiration.' Ramachandra Guha 'For several months now I've been looking forward to the publication of Taj Mahal Foxtrot: A Story of Bombay s Jazz Age by Naresh Fernandes. The extracts were fascinating - intensively researched and extremely well written.' Amitav Ghosh --Various

About the Author

Naresh Fernandes is a consulting editor at 'Time Out India'. He has previously worked at 'The Times of India' and the 'Associated Press' in Bombay, and 'The Wall Street Journal' in New York. His articles have also appeared in 'The Hindustan Times', 'The New York Times', 'India Magazine', 'Outlook Traveller', 'Seminar', 'Columbia Journalism Review', 'Letras Libres', and 'Transition', among other publications. He is the co-author of 'Bombay Then and Mumbai Now' (Roli Books), a photo-led record of the city's historical and contemporary concerns. In 2003, he was the co-editor, along with Jerry Pinto, of 'Bombay Meri Jaan', an anthology of writing about Bombay. He has also contributed pieces to 'The Greatest Show on Earth', 'Indian Mass Media and the Politics of Change', 'First Proof', 'Elsewhere', and 'When Bombay Burned'. He is a Poiesis Fellow at the Institute of Public Knowledge at New York University and is on the editorial policy board of the World Policy Journal. 'Taj Mahal Foxtrot' is his first book.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Roli Books; Har/Com edition (November 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8174367594
  • ISBN-13: 978-8174367594
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.9 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,358,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ajnabi on February 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Think of India and music and your mind conjures sublime ragas from Ravi Shankar and swirling musical whirlwinds from Bollywood. But what about swinging hot jazz, fancy dress balls and black American jazz expatriates playing in luxury hotels on the Arabian Sea? You are to be forgiven for never putting those things and India together in the same thought but as the new and much awarded book Taj Mahal Foxtrot by Mumbai based writer Naresh Fernandes deliciously details, India once upon a time hosted a thriving and very jiving jazz culture.

In 1935, a violin-playing jazzman from Minnesota, Leon Abbey, brought an `all negro' band to Bombay for a season of appearances at the grand Taj Mahal Hotel. It was a time when African American musicians were seeking for warmer, less-discriminating audiences around the world, especially in Europe. Abbey had toured throughout the 1920s in Europe and even through Latin America, so his disembarkation in Bombay was, for him, at first, just another stop on the global jazz trail. Abbey's ace band, members of which had backed Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins back home, took the colonial city by storm. Abbey's version of hot swing jazz garnered ecstatic reviews in the press and crowded the dance floors of the city's best hotels and clubs. One local fan, who later went on to become a prominent, somewhat cantankerous journalist, wrote of his encounter with Abbey's jazz: `The music went to my head that evening and when Leon started beating up a rumba I left my table and my partner to shake the maracas that were offered me. In those few moments I forgot my whole upbringing, forgot that I was back in the land of my fathers, through which the Ganges flowed, and that the Seine was far far away.
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Taj Mahal Foxtrot: The Story of Bombay's Jazz Age
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