"Taj Mahal opened the untapped potential of the Delta Blues, felt the connection to African soul and island rhythms, and became one of world music's first proponents and champions."
I first saw Taj Mahal perform in the late 1970s, and have enjoyed his unique blend of roots-blues-world music ever since. In addition to his role in "revitalizing and preserving traditional acoustic blues," Taj Mahal has taken "a musicologist's interest in a multitude of folk and roots music from around the world -- reggae and other Caribbean folk, jazz, gospel, R&B, zydeco, various West African styles, Latin, even Hawaiian." This "global perspective," while still rooted in the "African-derived heritage of most of those forms," allowed him to "present the blues as part of a wider musical context."
Here's some exciting news: Sony's Legacy Recordings is celebrating this "groundbreaking artist with a major catalog reissue project beginning with the release of the newly-curated The Hidden Treasures of Taj Mahal, 1969-1973, an extraordinary two-disc collection of previously unreleased studio and live performances, available Tuesday August 21."
Taj is 70 years old today.