For the majority of Indian jazz fans of that time, Willis Conover was jazz. This was an India of the 60’s and ’70’s where jazz recorded or live was a scarce commodity. Records were hard to find, and record players and music systems were expensive for many. But many homes had shortwave radios and for nothing more than being willing to stay awake into the night, the VOA relay from Ceylon (Sri Lanka). For many, their education in Jazz was Willis Conover. His program was dearly loved, recorded on early reel tapes and eagerly listened to again and again.
So in 1978, when a group of dedicated Jazz enthusiasts in Bombay organized India first International Jazz Festival, the Jazz Yatra..(and documented in our film Finding Carlton – Uncovering the Story of Jazz in India) …it was fitting the Willis Conover was the master of ceremonies. And for the first time since 1978, here are two rare clips of Willis Conover, live from Jazz Yatra 1978 !