Padmabhushan Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan has passed away

Padmabhushan Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan

The legendary sitarist of India Padmabhushan Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan has passed away on the January 4th , 2017 at his residence in Mumbai. A daring innovator and pioneer of the Jafferkhani Baaj in sitar playing,  Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan is an indelible part of India’s sitar trinity comprising Ustad Vilayat Khan and Pt. Ravi Shankar. He hails from the Bande Ali Khan – Indore ‘Beenkar Gharana’ and received tutelage from his father Jaffer Khan, a well known singer, sitarist and beenkar.He has been a distinguished All India Radio Artist since the early 1940’s being credited with bringing ‘Carnatic’ ragas such as ‘KirwaniKanakangi,LatangiKaraharapriyaManavatiGanamurti’ and others into the sitar repertoire, rendering them through a Hindustani sensibility and the distinct ‘Jafferkhani Baaj’.

Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan was the first Hindustani musician to collaborate with the ‘Carnatic’ tradition in a performance with Veena maestro Dr. Emani Sankara Sastri. In 1958, he collaborated with Jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck for a rare performance with the Dave Brubeck Quintet which was part of Brubeck’s Jazz Ambassador residency in India. That memorable collaboration, Brubeck stated in an interview with Jazz Journal International, made him “play in a different way”. Khan also collaborated with noted English guitarist Julian Bream in 1963. Always seeking to break ground in a firmly established system, Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan’s early experimentation with poly-tonality in Indian classical instrumentation was achieved in his sitar quintet.

Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan has bequeathed an invaluable musical legacy to the history of Indian cinema. He has composed and played for epic films such as ‘Anarkali’, ‘Mughal – e – Azam’, ‘Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje’, ‘Goonj Uthi Shehnai’ and ‘Kohinoor’ to name a few. He has collaborated with renowned music directors as Naushad, Anil Biswas, Vasant Desai, D. P. Korgaonkar, Shri. Ramachandra and Madan Mohan.


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