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The people who make the music we call Jazz…(5)

He’s been called the greatest jazz pianist that India has ever produced. Whether you agreed with that or not, no one would challenge the fact that Madhav Chari was hugely talented, and his playing was frequently quite awesome. His passing in his 40s was a really sad event for his family, friends and jazz lovers in India.

In a very personal sense, I have been privileged. His parents have been my friends since I was about 19, and I have known Madhav since he was, maybe, 5 years old or so.  I have seen him ‘grow’ his talent over the years. And he was indeed precocious – I recall him playing the piano as a child, at home in the presence of some of Calcutta’s finest musicians – all adults – and all really appreciative of Madhav’s skills, technique and imagination.

Madhav and I had presented a public demo-lecture on jazz, followed by a concert, in the late 1980s, wherein we’d tried to go a little bit into explaining the quirks of this music. His concerts in Mumbai that I attended were fascinating in their detail, drive and dynamism.

I had taken these pictures around late 1980s or the early 1990s – and these have remained among my favourites.


While it’s possible that my memory may be playing me false, I seem to recall having shot them on a summer’s afternoon in his dad’s apartment in Tivoli Court in Calcutta.

In a small way, let this be my tribute to Madhav.



About thecrestedjay

I am passionate about football, jazz, classic rock, classic movies, crime, science fiction and P G Wodehouse. And also about NBA, western and Indian classical music. Since the wife will also read this blog, I cannot reveal my other passions in public. Have one son who plays the guitar, spent some time as an animator and now works for a digital marketing and advertising company. I also have one (1) wife. I spent a lot of my time on my music and books collection. I also have a passion for travelling but not a great deal of time and money to spend on this. Hopefully, in the future, I'll be able to do so.


One thought on “The people who make the music we call Jazz…(5)

  1. Thanx so much for a wonderful write up and such poignant shots.. Madhav was like a kid brother. His loss is not only for the music community in India but also a great personal tragedy for me in reality. When I met him last in his aptmnt in Chennai a couple of months before he bid us goodbye, he played a couple of blues tunes for me on his Yamaha which I hold dear to my heart nd will for the rest of my zlife. He was a young man with passion and great artistic skill. He could not tolerate people who treated his art form flippantly and always had my vocal support for the same. Madhav wherever you may be you will continue to impart joy and peace to all your near and dear ones. Your memory will stay deep in me and my family’s heart for all times to come.

    Posted by Pradip Kumar Sen | June 26, 2018, 5:56 pm

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