All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal - guitar, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist

Taj Mahal has spent more than 40 years exploring the roots and branches of the blues. Grounded in the acoustic pre-war blues sound but drawn to the eclectic sounds of world music, he revitalized a dying tradition and prepared the way for a new generation of blues men and women. While many African Americans shunned older musical styles during the 1960s, Mahal immersed himself in the roots of his past. “I was interested in the music because I felt something [got] lost in that transition of blacks trying to assimilate into society.” He had no intention of repeating what had come before, however, and drew deeply from the wells of the ethnic music of Africa, South America, and the Caribbean.

Taj Mahal was born Henry Saint Claire Fredericks in New York City in 1942. His father, who had emigrated from the Caribbean, wrote arrangements for Benny Goodman and played piano. His mother, Mildred Shields, had taught school in South Carolina. “Even though I have Southern and Caribbean roots, my background also crossed with indigenous European and African influences,” Mahal told Down Beat. “My parents introduced me to gospel, spiritual singing, to Ella, Sarah, Mahalia Jackson, Ray Charles.” Mahal also listened to music from around the world on his father's short-wave radio, and developed a love for blues artists like Leadbelly and Lightnin' Hopkins, and early rock-n-rollers like Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley.

Read more

Tags

Live Review
Album Review
Live Review
Album Review
Read more articles

Photos

Taj Mahal Concerts

Date Detail Price
Jul17Fri
Jon Cleary, Taj Mahal
Barbican Centre
London, UK

Albums

Album Maestro by Taj Mahal

Maestro

Heads Up International
2008

buy
 

River Of Love

Private Music
2001

buy
 

Kulanjan

Hannibal Records
2000

buy
 

Crystal Clear

Private Music
1999

buy
 

Sacred Island

Windham Hill Records
1999

buy

Similar

Buddy Guy Buddy Guy
guitar, electric
Robert Cray Robert Cray
guitar, electric
Albert King Albert King
guitar, electric
Albert Collins Albert Collins
guitar, electric
Mississippi John Hurt Mississippi John Hurt
guitar, acoustic
Ry Cooder Ry Cooder
guitar
Leadbelly Leadbelly
guitar, 12-string
Sleepy John Estes Sleepy John Estes
guitar, acoustic
Elmore James Elmore James
guitar, slide
Eric Bibb Eric Bibb
guitar, acoustic
Keb' Mo' Keb' Mo'
guitar

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and through our retail affiliations you'll support us in the process.

MUSICSTACK
Rare vinyl LPs and CDs from over 1,000 independent sellers
AMAZON
CDs, Vinyl, Blu-Ray DVDS, Prime membership, Alexa, SONOS and more
HD TRACKS
Specializing in high resolution and CD-quality downloads
CD UNIVERSE
Specializing in music, movies and video games
REVERB
Marketplace for new, used, and vintage instruments and gear

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.