CD: Maestro Artist: Taj Mahal Style: Blues Year: 2008
Listening to Taj Mahal for the first time in more than 40 years was a nostalgic look back into a time when society as a whole was in a constant state of change and turmoil. During the turbulent 1960s, there was civil unrest, Woodstock, Vietnam, LSD, hippies, racial divide, anti war demonstrations, the British music invasion, Motown, free love, the Mi Lai massacre and the assassinations of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, as well as Martin Luther King and JFK's brother Robert Francis Kennedy. In many ways, music played a major role in addressing some of the ills of those turbulent times. As a blues singer, Mahal’s message provided relevance and a healthy respite from the restlessness of the era. With more than 30 albums to his credit and always in demand on the concert circuit, Taj Mahal has released a new album entitled ‘Maestro’ on the Heads Up International Record Label.
Considered by many to be one of the most prominent musicians of his generation, Mahal’s influence has been phenomenal. This latest recording is the culmination of Taj’s immense work over 44 years as a musician.As an innovator, Mahal has successfully incorporated the elements of Caribbean, Hawaiian, R&B, Zydeco and world music into blues. ‘Maestro’s’ perspective is a charismatic view of his multifaceted career. Tracks such as “I Can Make You Happy”, “Maestro”, “Black Man, Brown Man” and “Scratch My Back” all provide varying degrees of clarity. In addition, the inclusion of Ziggy Marley, Los Lobos, Ben Harper, The New Orleans Social Club and Taj’s daughter Deva adds credence to the album’s significance. Another positive impact of ‘Maestro’s’ immeasurable presence is the tribute to Otis Redding on “Scratch My Back” and Mahal’s cover of one of Fats Domino’s most noteworthy songs entitled “Hello Josephine”. There is also a cover of “Diddy Wah Diddy”, a song made famous by the late influential blues man Willie Dixon. All in all, Taj Mahal’s creative energy on ‘Maestro’ has the same level of intensity that has fueled his music since 1964.
The passionate embrace of blues music in the 21st century provides an retrospective on one of America’s last great blues men.As a musical legend, Taj Mahal has definitely paid his dues. His recording of ‘Maestro’ reflects upon the blues’ influential presence in American social culture, while listing the contributions of legendary figures while also focusing upon other styles of music. In hindsight, Mahal did not record just another blues album; he went just a little bit further by magnifying what he has already accomplished. The social commentary that once affected American culture has not changed very much since the 1960s. In the 21st century there continues to be civil unrest, drugs, war and a host of other political ills that continue to plague society. The solace contained in 'Maestro' is the foundation for what blues music has always been about historically. This album speaks volumes about the man, his music and acknowledges Mahal as one of America’s most heralded national treasures.
"Jus' Jazz turns you on to music you would love to hear! "We are your best alternative source of information pertaining to pre-recorded jazz music!"