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Badal Roy, Who Fused Indian Rhythms With Jazz, Is Dead at 82


In an interview with an Indian newspaper, The Telegraph, Mr. Roy recalled: “All of a sudden, Miles tells me: ‘You start’ — no music, no nothing, just like that. Realizing I have to set the groove, I just start playing a ta-ka-na-ta-n-ka-tin rhythm. Herbie nods his head to the beat and, with a ‘Yeah!,’ starts playing. For a while, it’s just the two of us, and then John and Jack join in. Then all the others start and, to me at least, it’s pure chaos. I’m completely drowned out by the sound. I continue playing, but for the next half-hour, I can’t hear a single beat I play.”

Those sessions yielded Davis’s “On the Corner.” Mr. Roy joined Davis for other 1972 sessions that contributed material for Davis’s “Big Fun” and “Get Up With It,” both released in 1974, and performed with him at Philharmonic Hall (now David Geffen Hall) at Lincoln Center for what became Davis’s 1973 album “In Concert.”

Mr. Roy received a copy of “On the Corner” when it was released in 1972. But after his frustration at the sessions, he didn’t listen to it until the 1990s, when his son, then a graduate student, told him, “All the hip-hop guys are sampling it.”

In 1974, Mr. Roy married Geeta Vashi. She survives him, along with their son and Mr. Roy’s sisters, Kalpana Chakraborty and Shibani Ray Chaudhury, and his brother, Samarendra Roy Chowdhury. He lived in Wilmington.

Mr. Roy backed the saxophonist Pharoah Sanders on the albums “Wisdom Through Music” (1972), “Village of the Pharoahs” (1973) and “Love in Us All” (1974), and in later years performed with Mr. Sanders onstage. With the saxophonist Dave Liebman, who had been in Davis’s group, Mr. Roy appeared on “Lookout Farm” (1974), “Drum Ode” (1975) and “Sweet Hands” (1975). (“Sweet hands” is the translation of a Bengali term praising a virtuoso tabla player.)

He released two albums as a leader in the mid-1970s, both featuring Mr. Liebman: “Ashirbad” (1975) and “Passing Dreams” (1976), which also included the Indian classical musician Sultan Khan on sarangi, a bowed string instrument.


Circassia News

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