Thursday, May 17, 2012

Henry Saint Clair Fredericks Jr. AKA Taj Mahal Is 70

"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."

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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."  

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Taj is 70 years old today.


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