Bangladeshi tabla player Badal Roy died on Wednesday, her niece said in a tweet. He was 77.
Born in then British India’s Comilla district in 1945, he had collaborated with iconic musicians and composers like Yoko Ono, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, John McLaughlin and Dave Liebman.
Roy took tabla lessons from his uncle, but started his professional career as a gig artist in New York’s Taste of India restaurant where he used to work as a busboy while pursuing his PhD in statistics.
Guitarist John McLaughlin, who would also occasionally play at the restaurant, offered Roy to play tabla for his next album. Roy accepted the offer and featured on McLaughlin 1971 album My Goal’s Beyond.
He then went on to collaborate with jazz trumpet player Miles Davis for his 1972 album On the Corner. Soon, he became a member of Davis’ touring band and stayed with the group for three years.
Roy’s niece and many of his admirers took to social media to express grief about his death and reminisce his performances.