Darktown Strutter’s Ball is a tune with a long history: it was composed in 1917 by a Canadian named Shelton Brooks and the same year was recorded by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band – the outfit that, in February 1917, had become the first jazz band ever to cut a record. (Emile Christian, the bass player who joined the ODJB after its initial flush of success, would find himself performing in Bombay in 1935.)
This version of the tune, recorded in Calcutta in 1942, features Teddy Weatherford on piano and vocals, with Tony Gonsalves on bass and Trevor McCabe on drums.
The previous year, the saxophonist Hal Green and his band played an event in Bombay Central named after the song. It would perhaps shock some contemporary employees of the Bombay police force to realise that ladies have been getting into parties free for six decades now without aspersions being cast on their characters, as the second-last line of the handbill demonstrates.
This track is from the Marco Pacci collection.