Bardu Ali

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Bardu Ali
Born(1906-09-23)September 23, 1906
DiedOctober 29, 1981(1981-10-29) (aged 75)
Inglewood, California
GenresJazz, blues
Occupation(s)Singer, promoter
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Associated actsChick Webb

Bardu Ali (September 23, 1906 – October 29, 1981) was an American jazz and R&B singer, guitarist, and promoter.


It has been reported that Ali was born September 23, 1910 or 1906, in Mississippi.[1] His sister and older brothers born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Ella Blackman, a new Orleans native, and Moksad Ali, an immigrant from Hooghly, in the Indian state of Bengal.[2] There were several children born to this union. Two of the older sons moved to Galveston, Texas, but Ella moved to the Bronx, New York, with her other children and her sister Fanny. He got involved with black cinema in the late 1920s and 1930s.

He moved to New York City in the 1920s and became leader of the Napoleon Zyas band. He was master of ceremonies for this band and for the bands of Leroy Tibbs and Chick Webb. He is credited with persuading Webb to hired singer Ella Fitzgerald. He went on tour in England with Lew Leslie's Blackbirds revue. Returning to the U.S., he replaced Webb in 1935 as bandleader after Webb died. In 1940 he moved to California, where he became a business partner of Johnny Otis, performed as a singer in Otis's band, and opened The Barrelhouse club with him in 1947. He played an important role in the early career of Charles Brown and was Redd Foxx's business manager.[1][3]


  1. ^ a b Chadbourne, Eugene. "Bardu Ali". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  2. ^ Bald, Vivek (2013). Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America. Harvard University Press.
  3. ^ Lipsitz, George (2010). Midnight at the Barrelhouse: The Johnny Otis Story. U of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0-8166-6678-2. Retrieved 19 October 2018.