Yesterday once more

Yesterday once more

This picture was taken in 1968 in Bangalore at Napoli restaurant in Majestic area. I was then a drummer with the 'Johnny Pereira' band and on an eight-year contract with the restaurant. This picture was taken during one of our performances on New Year's eve.

Seen in the picture along with me are Johnny Pereira on the alto saxophone, Johnny Figredeo who played the double bass and Paul Johnson, the keyboardist. We were all members of the same band.

Johnny Pereira later migrated to Canada. Since I was the youngest in the band, I was bullied by all. Johnny Figredeo was also a good singer. I learnt almost all the jazz songs that I know today from him. Paul passed away a few years ago. I remember him to be a very reserved person. We all lived together and spent a lot of time with each other.

I always knew that I wanted to become a drummer. As a child, I would set a tune and begin to drum on anything that was in an inverted position. I am a self-taught musician and I took to learning jazz and drums just after completing my schooling in Bombay and joined the band at Napoli. Most pubs and restaurants in the city those days had live bands playing through the day and night. Old Bangalore was the most preferred place for many a young man and woman. At Napoli, we had a morning session just for the youth where a lot of youngsters would come to hear us play.

I lived in Gandhinagar, close to Majestic. It was very cold those days and I remember that I had to wear a cardigan throughout the year. Commuting in the city was a breeze. The minimum fare for autorickshaws was only 50 paise. I used to frequent MG Road and Brigade Road to watch the latest movies at Rex, Plaza or Symphony. I shopped for my shirts from Sadhwani's on M G Road and suites from P N Rao. Three Aces on Brigade Road was a favourite haunt.

Over the years, I have lost count of the number of bands that I have played for. I currently play with Dr Thomas Chandy's band called 'Jazz Revival'. Whenever I look at this picture, I am reminded of good old Bangalore where there was a live band performing in every nook and corner of the city. Today it is sad that the tradition of a live band is slowly fading.

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