FTC welcomes back Grammy Award blues artist Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

The Fairfield Theatre Company welcomes back Grammy Award Winner composer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Taj Mahal, to the intimate StageOne venue Saturday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m., 70 Sanford Street.

One of the most prominent and influential figures in late 20th century blues and roots music, Taj Mahal’s career began more than four decades ago. Taj has broadened his artistic scope over the years to include music that represents virtually every corner of the world from West Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America, to Europe, the Hawaiian Islands, and so much more. What ties it all together is Taj’s insatiable interest in musical discovery. Over the past four decades, Taj’s passion and curiosity has led him around the world resulting in a global perspective that is reflected in the music he performs night after night.

Born Henry St. Claire Fredericks in Harlem back in 1942, Taj grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. His father was a jazz pianist, composer, and arranger of Caribbean descent; and his mother, a gospel singing schoolteacher from South Carolina. Music was in his soul and blood. With his father’s extensive record collection and a shortwave radio which brought sounds from near and far into the home, Taj Mahal became hooked and took pride in his diverse ethnic and cultural tastes.

After only two weeks of piano lessons Taj discovered his stepfather’s guitar and became serious about it in his early teens when a guitarist from North Carolina moved in next door and taught him the various legends of the day including Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, and other titans of the Delta and Chicago blues.

With such diverse musical background and musical experiences it served as the bedrock for Taj’s first three recordings: Taj Mahal (1967), The Natch’l Blues (1968) and Giant Step (1969). Drawing on all the sounds and styles he absorbed as a child and a young adult, continue to be the driving inspiration that is Taj’s hallmark signature sound today.

“The one thing I’ve always demanded of the records I’ve made is that they be danceable,” he says. “This record is danceable, it’s listenable, it has lots of different rhythms, it’s accessible, it’s all right in front of you. It’s a lot of fun, and it represents where I am at this particular moment in my life. This record is just the beginning of another chapter, one that’s going to be open to more music and more ideas. Even at the end of forty years, in many ways my music is just getting started.”

Coming back to StageOne for another must see legendary performance, Taj Mahal will be joined by Kester Smith (drums) and Bill Rich (bass), who will join the blues legend in a night of world class blues that celebrates Taj’s four decades worth of material including hit songs Fishin’ Blues, Corinna, She Caught the Katy, and countless others including songs from his Grammy award winning albums Senor Blues, and Hula Blues.

For tickets, at $125, with a $30 member discount, visit fairfieldtheatre.org.

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