In 1935, a violinist from Minnesota named Leon Abbey brought the first 'all negro' jazz band to Bombay, leaving behind a legacy that would last three decades. In a decade, swing found its way onto the streets of India. It influenced Hindi film music: the very soundtrack of Indian life. The optimism of jazz became an important element in the tunes that echoed the hopes of newly independent India. This book tells a story of India, especially of the city of Bombay, through the lives of a menagerie of geniuses, strivers, and eccentrics, both Indian and American, who helped jazz find a home in the sweaty subcontinent. They include the burly African-American pianist Teddy Weatherford; the Goan trumpet player Frank Fernand, whose epiphanic encounter with Mahatma Gandhi drove him to try to give jazz an Indian voice; Chic Chocolate, who was known as' the Louis Armstrong of India'; Anthony Gonsalves, who lent his name to one of the most popular Bollywood tunes ever; and many more. Taj Mahal Foxtrot,
at its heart, is a history of Bombay in swing time.