Tuesday, August 23, 2005


In mid-1999, I had approached Gentleman with an idea for a Music Special Issue. The idea came from the dismay of observing some of the finest albums in international contemporary music being left alone in music stores, simply because a lot of people (especially the young) were not aware of the riches available amidst them.

We decided to do a Western Music Special issue and keep Indian music for a separate issue. I became the guest editor for the project. We divided our scope into four sections - Rock/pop/soul, Blues, Jazz and Western Classical. David Timothy did the section on Blues, Louis Banks on Jazz, Anjan Ray on Western Classical and I handled the Rock/pop/soul section. The last section was the biggest, so I brought in Sagar Chowdhury to ensure a more well-rounded selection.

The idea was for each contributor to write an essay on why that genre appealed to him so much, maybe give some kind of history or perspective to it and then recommend the best titles money could buy in that genre.

Unfortunately, today, I just have my contribution with me, which I am putting up here. Hopefully, the other pieces will feature here too, at some point.

Please keep in mind that all this was written and compiled in 1999. Some of it may be slightly dated but not much.

An exercise like this has to be objectively put together to have any value whatsoever and for that the contributors need to have perspective about the music and together they need to have a well-rounded point-of-view.

I remember, in June 2000, the eminent British music magazine Q brought out an issue of their 100 greatest albums. Almost 85% of the titles featured on that list had been on this one. That was quite satisfying!

Jaideep Varma
August 2005
Since the whole point of this exercise was to nudge people towards buying the best albums available, it seems right to build in links here too, to Amazon, where most of these titles are readily available. Have also added a mandatory link to their home page (below).
For those in India, you should know (if you don’t already) that current customs laws allow you DVDs or CDs below Rs 10,000 without any duty. So, to have a completely trouble-free purchase experience, keep your purchases ideally below $200, at a time.
If you exceed this amount, you can treat yourself to a visit to the Customs office and deal with slimy, oily people, none of whom want to give you the right information in case you figure out how to avoid them the next time. Also, the information above is valid for only the US. The permissable duty-free amount from the UK is considerably lesser, which is why Amazon US is a better option.


Blogger Anjan said...

Hello Jaideep

I had always hoped to meet you someday after reading your section in that Gentleman special issue. I only have a hard copy of my contribution (the one on Classical Western Music) so need to figure out how to post it in scanned form, since typing it out again seems like a bit of daunting task.


9:23 PM  
Blogger jaideep varma said...

Hi Anjan
Very good to hear from you. How do i write to you? What email id?


6:00 AM  
Anonymous Anjan Ray said...

Hello Jaideep

Sorry for having lapsed into silence. I can be reached on anjan.ray@gmail.com, and am based at Delhi. And you?

5:53 AM  

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