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Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Singer, Songwriter, Composer

Explored Black Folk Music

Overflowed With Personality and Authenticity

Composed Sounder Soundtrack

Selected discography

Sources

Singer andFsongwriter Taj Mahal is a musician for whom origins are everything. An avid musicologist, particularly of traditional country blues, Mahal combines an extensive knowledge of black folk music with his own distinct musical interpretations. Mahal rose to prominence in the late 1960s and 1970s as a performer and recording artist of both traditional blues standards and his own authentic-sounding blues compositions. During that time, he became well-known for his trademark buoyant and energetic stage performances, and for a string of albums which, as a Village Voice reviewer once wrote, always exhibited a roving intelligence and refreshing humor. Throughout his career, Mahal has been acclaimed as a leading modern purveyor of traditional blues and, despite the trends of popular music, has continually adhered to his own distinct styleone steeped in, and respectful of, black folk tradition. Raw, bone-deep funk and sweetness flow naturally from Mahals fingers and mouth or lathers on teasing licks that have nothing to do with virtuosity and everything to do with taste, wrote Josef Woodard in a 1991 Down Beat profile. Mahal is unmistakable, a musician without precedent or peers.

Mahal was born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks in New York Citythe name Taj Mahal came to him in a dream; he chose it because of its sound. Early musical influences included his father, who was a West Indian jazz pianist and arranger, and his mother, a schoolteacher and gospel singer from South Carolina. Mahals involvement with the blues, however, was inspired from within. While working towards an agricultural degree at the University of Massachusetts during the early 1960s, he discovered traditional bluessuch as that performed by legendary artists Lightnin Hopkins and Leadbellyand absorbed himself in researching the roots of black folk music. It was a direction that went against the grain of much black music, which at the time was more intent on breaking with the past. That was a choice on my part, he recalled to Dimitri Ehrlich in a 1991 Pulse! interview. There was something about the blues that just full and wholly knocked me out. Instead of popular music creating me, I programmed myself for what Im interested in. What particularly attracted him to the blues, as he explained to Ehrlich, was howas in African musical traditionmusic functioned as part of the whole of life.

Explored Black Folk Music

Originally a bass player, Mahal became familiar with the acoustic guitar, piano, harp, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, dulcimer, and a variety of fifes and whistles. In addition to the blues, he delved into other black folk music, including that of Africa and reggae. Disenchanted

For the Record

Born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, May 17, 1942, in New York, NY; son of Henry Saint Clair (a jazz musician) and Mildred (a schoolteacher; maiden name, Shields) Fredericks; married Inshirah Geter, January 23, 1976; children: Aya, Taj, Gahmelah, Ahmen, Deva, Nani. Education: University of Massachusetts, B.A., 1964.

Performing artist, 1964; played with group Rising Sons, late 1960s; recording artist, 1967. Composer of scores for films Sounder, Sounder II, and Brothers; television programs Ewoks, The Man Who Broke a Thousand Chains, and Brer Rabbit; and the play, Mule Bone, produced on Broadway, 1991. Actor in films King of Ragtime, Sounder, and Sounder II.

Awards: Best Ethnic Music Award, Bay Area Music Awards, 1979, for Brothers soundtrack.

Addresses: Office c/o Folklore Productions, 1671 Appian Way, Santa Monica, CA 90401.

with what he felt was too constricted a folk scene on the East Coast, Mahal moved to California in 1965. He joined guitarist Ry Cooder to form a band called Rising Sons, which, despite showing great promise, broke up after a record deal folded. Ry was one person I connected big-time with because he always heard the music, Mahal explained to Woodard. It wasnt the swagger or the stagger or the dark glasses or the pork pie hat or the look or the way you held your saxophone. Mahal then set out on a solo career, and in 1967 released the first of what would be several successful albums for Columbia Records. Throughout the rest of the 1960s and 1970s Mahal was a leading performer of blues and other black folk music at concerts and music festivals across the country. A reviewer for the Village Voice wrote in 1974 that Taj Mahal has pursued black traditional music, particularly blues, with single-mindedness, probity, and originality. He has become our preeminent modern traditionalist.

Overflowed With Personality and Authenticity

Mahal has been acclaimed throughout his career for his dynamic stage performances. A contributor to Newsweek wrote in 1972: [Mahals] on a journey into the heart of black music from the moment he appears on stage in jeans and a colorful dashiki, 6 feet 4 inches, smiling through his bearded face, and says, Were gonna start out real smooth and take it to where we cant hardly stand it. Often holding his steel guitar or banjo while seated on a straight-backed chair, or engaging his audience in foot-stomping and hand-clapping, Mahal infuses old blues standards, as Newsweek noted, with a burlesque style that caricatures the grin-and-bear-it blues tradition, or with a vocal inflection thats West Indian. John Rockwell in the New York Times described Mahal on stage as an outwardly laconic blues singer and scholar who makes simply wonderful music. Many blues specialists, black or white, either sound studiously antiquarian or distort the purity of the music in a search for personality. Taj Mahal overflows with personality, yet the end effect remains one of authenticity.

Composed Sounder Soundtrack

Mahals albums reflect his predominant pursuit of old-style country blues, yet they also display a wide-ranging interest in preserving black music of all origins, including reggae, gospel, and the folk music of Western Africa. To me the music is sacred, he told Ehrlich. Blues, gospel, jazz, Latin music, whatever the style, this stuff should flourish from generation to generation. Woodard suggested that Mahals 1969 album, Giant Step/Ole Folks at Home, is one of his most important, consisting of stark, lustrous renditions of traditional songs on guitar, banjo, and voice. Mahal commented to Woodard that some of the roots of [Ole Folks] went back in a lot of different directions. Of the numerous albums Mahal released in the late 1960s and 1970s, particularly notable is the soundtrack he composed for the 1972 movie Sounder, in which he also played the role of Ike. After a relatively dry recording spell during the 1980s, Mahal returned in 1991 with Like Never Before, a collection that displays him singing a variety of music, including blues, reggae, and scat, on such playful tunes as Squat That Rabbit, Cakewalk Into Town, and Big Legged Mommas Are Back in Style. Like Never Before features both simple arrangements of typical Mahal material, in addition to cuts employing large instrument and vocal ensembles; contributing artists include Hall & Oates, the Pointer Sisters, Dr. John, and Eric Clapton. According to Ehrlich, Mahals voice sounds better than ever for all his experience, burnished and aglow, and the album is one of his finest efforts in years.

Also in 1991, Mahal composed the musical score for the Broadway production of Mule Bone, a stage play originally written during the 1920s Harlem Renaissance by poet Langston Hughes and novelist Zora Neale Hurston, but never produced because of a dispute between the authors. Set in a small black Florida town in the early part of the 1900s, the play depicts a conflict between two men in the community and gives insight into the society of southern black rural life at the turn of the century. Mahal was chosen by the plays producers to compose the musical scorewhich included setting Hughess poems to musicbecause of his stature as a black musicologist and, as Mule Bones dramaturge Anne Cattaneo told Ehrlich, he was the best person who could understand and reclaim this musical tradition. Mahal commented to Ehrlich on capturing the essence of Hughess and Hurstons love of black heritage: I wanted to pay homage to both of these wonderful people by representing them a generation and a half laterand at the same time have it loose enough to still be me. The music had to be in touch with the old timers, and the new timers as well.

Selected discography

Taj Mahal, Columbia, 1967.

Natchl Blues, Columbia, 1969.

Giant Step/Ole Folks at Home, Columbia, 1969.

The Real Thing, Columbia, c. 1970.

Happy Just to Be Like I Am, Columbia, 1971.

Recycling the Blues and Other Related Stuff, Columbia, 1972.

Sounder (film soundtrack), Columbia, 1972.

Oooh So Goodn Blue, Columbia, 1973.

Mo Roots, Columbia, 1974.

Music Keeps Me Together, Columbia, 1975.

Satisfied n Tickled Too, Columbia, 1976.

Music Fuh Ya (Music Para Tu), Warner Bros., 1977.

Brothers (film soundtrack), Warner Bros., 1977.

Evolution (the Most Recent), Warner Bros., 1978.

The Best of Taj Mahal, Columbia, 1981.

Taj, Gramavision, 1986.

Brer Rabbit and the Wonderful Tar Baby, Windham Hill.

Like Never Before (includes Squat That Rabbit, Cakewalk Into Town, and Big Legged Mommas Are Back in Style), Private Music, 1991.

Mule Bone, Gramavision, 1991.

Sources

Down Beat, February 1991.

Interview, April 1991.

Newsweek, February 28, 1972.

New York Times, March 15, 1970; November 18, 1973; November 23, 1973; October 18, 1974.

Pulse!, June 1991.

Rolling Stone, January 4, 1969; June 24, 1971.

Village Voice, December 6, 1973; October 24, 1974.

Michael E. Mueller

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Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Blues musician, songwriter

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 told Art Tipaldi in Blues Review. 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. "Mahal began as a blues interpreter," noted Ira Mayer in the New Rolling Stone Record Guide, "but his music has since encompassed rock, traditional Appalachian sounds, jazz, calypso, reggae, and a general tendency toward experimentation and assimilation."

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 John Ephland in 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.

Mahal's family moved when he was a young boy and he grew up in Massachusetts. Tipaldi wrote, "Growing up in Springfield, Mass., Mahal was a rarity—a young African American who immersed himself in the study of his cultural heritage." At age 11 he witnessed the death of his father in a farming accident, but he found solace in music. When his mother remarried, he discovered his stepfather's guitar in the basement and learned to play it with a broken comb. He also took lessons from Lynnwood Perry and absorbed the radio sounds of jazz players like Illinois Jacquet and Ben Webster. Although he is primarily known as a guitarist, Mahal mastered an arsenal of instruments including piano, banjo, mandolin, and harmonica.

Mahal studied agriculture and animal husbandry at the University of Massachusetts. A dream inspired him to change his name from Fredericks, and he formed Taj Mahal and the Elektras in the early 1960s. "I was lucky enough to have my ideas coincide with the '60s and the resurgence of the blues," Mahal told Curt Wozniak in the Grand Rapids Press. He attended the Newport Folk Festival in the early 1960s to witness the folk and blues revival first hand. The opportunity to watch traditional blues players perform and meet the artists in person reinforced his decision to play acoustic guitar.

Authentic Yet Unique Musical Course

After graduating in 1964 Mahal moved to Los Angeles and formed the Rising Sons with Ry Cooder. The group signed with Columbia, but the label was unsure how to market the eclectic group. In Turn! Turn! Turn!, Richie Unterberger declared that "their eclecticism was unmatched on the L.A. scene, with a repertoire including electrified country blues and traditional folk tunes." Although the Rising Sons released one single, the rest of the band's recorded material remained locked away in Columbia's vaults until 1992.

After the Rising Sons broke up, Mahal remained with Columbia and recorded his self-titled debut album, Taj Mahal. The album "was a startling statement in its time and has held up remarkably well," according to Bruce Eder in All Music Guide. The follow-up album, The Natch'l Blues, was equally well received. Mahal, however, soon revealed his penchant for going his own way, recording the half electric, half acoustic double album Giant Step in 1969. "Those three records built Mahal's reputation as an authentic yet unique modern-day bluesman," praised Steve Huey in All Music Guide.

Mahal continued to explore new directions in the 1970s. Happy Just to Be Like I Am surveyed Caribbean rhythms, while The Real Thing added New Orleans tuba. In 1973 he recorded the soundtrack for the movie Sounder, and the following year released Mo' Roots, an album heavily influenced by reggae. In 1976 Mahal left Columbia for Warner Brothers, where he recorded three albums in 1977 alone.

For the Record …

Born Henry Saint Claire Fredericks on May 17, 1942, in New York, NY; son of Henry Saint Claire Fredericks (a musician and musical arranger) and Mildred Shields (a school teacher); married Inshirah Geter, January 23, 1976; children: Aya, Taj, Gahmelah, Ahmen, Deva, Nani. Education: University of Massachusetts, BA, 1964.

Performing and recording artist, 1964–; joined Rising Sons, mid-1960s; composed soundtracks beginning with Sounder, 1973; wrote music for the play MuleBone, 1991; worked with classical Indian musicians to record Mumtaz Mahal, 1995; explored Hawaiian music on Sacred Island, 1998, and teamed with Malian kora player Tourmani Diabate on Kulanjan, 1998; headlined at Firefly Festival for the Performing Arts' Family Fest, 2003.

Awards: Grammy Award, Best Contemporary Blues Album for Señor Blues, 1997; Grammy Award, Best Contemporary Blues Album for Shoutin' in Key: TajMahal and the Phantom Blues Band Live, 2000.

Addresses: Record company—Sony Records, 550 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10022-3211, website: http://www.sonymusic.com/. Website—Taj Mahal Official Website: http://www.taj-mo-roots.com/.

Became Grammy Winner

After remaining relatively silent through much of the 1980s, Mahal recorded the well-received Taj in 1987. He then released Shake Sugaree, the first of several children's albums, and recorded a musical score for Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston's lost play, Mule Bone, for which he received a Grammy nomination. He signed with Private Music and released Dancing the Blues in 1993 and Phantom Blues in 1996. "Mahal is a fine interpreter," declared Roberta Penn in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "breezy and light on love tunes, righteous and randy on cheatin' songs, and soulful and shouting on the dance numbers." Phantom Blues also included high-profile guest appearances by guitarist Eric Clapton and singer Bonnie Raitt. Mahal told Jim McGuinness in the Bergen County, New Jersey, Record, "The album is designed to go down some familiar trails, but to look at new things." In 1997 he won a Grammy for Señor Blues.

Mahal's next music project grew out of his 15-year residency in Hawaii during the 1980s and 1990s. Joining with the Hula Blues Band, he recorded Sacred Island in 1998, and followed it with Taj Mahal and the Hula Blues the same year and Hanapepe Dream in 2003. The latter album included unusual versions of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" and John Hurt's "Stagger Lee." "My approach to the blues," Mahal told Andrew S. Hughes in the South Bend Tribune, "is more universal and inclusive as opposed to exclusive." Hanapepe Dream would also be the first of his albums to be released on his on label, Kan-Du. He started the label, he told Hughes, "as a place for young talent to come in ... a place where I can have a lot more control over what it is that I do musically." Mahal also received several acting roles in popular films, including the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood in 2002 and Killer Diller in 2004.

If the mixing of genres such as blues, Zydeco, gospel, and Latin music seems natural today, it is because of pioneers like Mahal. He opened up myriad possibilities for young artists who wanted to expand their musical palette beyond traditional blues. Robert Christgau wrote in the Village Voice, "In the '90s, Guy Davis, Keb' Mo', Corey Harris, and Alvin Youngblood Hart, all flowing out of the surge in cultural consciousness that ensued as the offspring of the civil rights generation came into their own, prove Taj Mahal a prophet."

While proud of his accomplishments, Mahal has remained more interested in pursuing current projects. He has recorded more than 25 albums and traveled throughout the world, continuing to explore new musical veins, playing as many as 200 dates a year, and releasing a steady stream of albums. Allan Orski noted in MusicHound Folk, "Whether he's with a full band playing pop arrangements or stripped-down roots, Mahal has asserted himself ... as a keeper of the faith and a still vital force that continues to roam past musical boundaries."

Selected discography

Taj Mahal, Columbia, 1968.

The Natch'l Blues, Columbia, 1968.

Giant Steps, Columbia, 1969.

Happy Just to Be Like I Am, Columbia, 1971.

Mo' Roots, Columbia, 1974.

Taj, Gramavision, 1987.

Shake Sugaree, Music for Little People, 1988.

Taj's Blues, Columbia, 1992.

Señor Blues, Private Music, 1997.

Sacred Island, Private Music, 1998.

Kulanjan, Hannibal, 1999.

Shoutin' in Key: Taj Mahal and the Phantom Blues Band Live, Hannibal, 2000.

Hanapepe Dream, Tone Cool, 2003.

Take a Giant Step, BMG, 2004.

Sources

Books

Marsh, Dave, and John Swenson, editors, New Rolling StoneRecord Guide, Random House, 1983.

Unterberger, Richie, Turn! Turn! Turn!, Backbeat, 2002.

Walters, Neal, and Brian Mansfield, editors, MusicHoundFolk, Visible Ink, 1998.

Periodicals

Blues Revue, April 2000, p. 11.

Down Beat, November 1999, p. 42.

Grand Rapids Press, August 27, 2002, p. B4.

Knoxville News-Sentinel, February 5, 2004, p. B3.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 24, 2003, p. 21E.

Record (Bergen County, NJ), April 5, 1996, p. 3.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 29, 1996, p. 8.

South Bend Tribune, June 20, 2003.

Village Voice, September 15, 1998.

Online

"Taj Mahal," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (August 13, 2004).

—Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

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Mahal, Taj 1942–

Taj Mahal 1942

Musician

Absorbed European and African influences

Authentic Yet Unique Musical Course

Became Grammy Winner

Selected discography

Sources

Taj Mahal has spent 40 years exploring the roots and branches of the blues. Grounded in the acoustic prewar 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 told Art Tipaldi in Blues Review. 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. Mahal began as a blues interpreter, noted Ira Mayer in the New Rolling Stone Record Guide, but his music has since encompassed rock, traditional Appalachian sounds, jazz, calypso, reggae and a general tendency toward experimentation and assimilation.

Absorbed European and African influences

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 John Ephland in 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 fathers 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.

Mahals family moved when he was a young boy and he grew up in Massachusetts. Tipaldi wrote, Growing up in Springfield, Mass., Mahal was a raritya young African American who immersed himself in the study of his cultural heritage. At age 11 he witnessed the death of his father in a farming accident, but he found solace in music. When his mother remarried, he discovered his stepfathers guitar in the basement and learned to play it with a broken comb. He also took lessons from Lynnwood Perry and absorbed the radio

At a Glance

Born Henry Saint Claire Fredericks on May 17, 1942, in New York, NY; son of Henry Saint Claire Fredericks (a musician and musical arranger) and Mildred Shields (a school teacher); married Inshirah Geter, January 23,1976; children: Aya, Taj, Gahmelah, Ahmen, Deva, Nani. Education: University of Massachusetts, BA, 1964.

Career: Performing and recording artist, 1964-; joined Rising Sons, mid-1960s; composed soundtracks beginning with Sounder, 1973; wrote music for the play Mule Bone, 1991.

Awards: Grammy, Contemporary Blues, 1997.

Address: Record Label c/o Capital Records, 1750 North Vine St., Hollywood, CA 90028-5274.

sounds of jazz players like Illinois Jacquet and Ben Webster. Although he is primarily known as a guitarist, Mahal mastered an arsenal of instruments including piano, banjo, mandolin, and harmonica.

Mahal studied agriculture and animal husbandry at the University of Massachusetts. A dream inspired him to change his name from Fredericks, and he formed Taj Mahal and the Elektras in the early 1960s. I was lucky enough to have my ideas coincide with the 60s and the resurgence of the blues, Mahal told Curt Wozniak in the Grand Rapids Press. He attended the Newport Folk Festival in the early 1960s to witness the folk and blues revival first hand. The opportunity to watch traditional blues players perform and meet the artists in person reinforced his decision to play acoustic guitar.

Authentic Yet Unique Musical Course

After graduating in 1964 Mahal moved to Los Angeles and formed the Rising Songs with Ry Cooder. The group signed with Columbia, but the label was unsure how to market the eclectic group. In Turn! Turn! Turn!, Richie Unterberger declared that their eclecticism was unmatched on the L.A. scene, with a repertoire including electrified country blues and traditional folk tunes. Although the Rising Sons released one single, the rest of the bands recorded material remained locked away in Columbias vaults until 1992.

After the Rising Sons broke up, Mahal remained with Columbia and recorded his self-titled debut album, Taj Mahal. The album was a startling statement in its time and has held up remarkably well, according to Bruce Eder in All Music Guide. The follow-up album, The Natchl Blues, was equally well received. Mahal, however, soon revealed his penchant for going his own way, recording the half electric, half acoustic double album Giant Step in 1969. Those three records built Mahals reputation as an authentic yet unique modern-day bluesman, praised Steve Huey in All Music Guide.

Mahal continued to explore new directions in the 1970s. Happy Just to Be Like I Am surveyed Caribbean rhythms, while The Real Thing added New Orleans tuba. In 1973 he recorded the soundtrack for the movie Sounder, and the following year released Mo Roots, an album heavily influenced by reggae. In 1976 Mahal left Columbia for Warner Brothers, where he recorded three albums in 1977 alone.

Became Grammy Winner

After remaining relatively silent through much of the 1980s, Mahal recorded the well-received Taj in 1987. He then released Shake Sugaree, the first of several childrens albums, and recorded a musical score for Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurstons lost play, Mule Bone, for which he received a Grammy nomination. He signed with Private Music and released Dancing the Blues in 1993 and Phantom Blues in 1996. Mahal is a fine interpreter, declared Roberta Penn in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, breezy and light on love tunes, righteous and randy on cheatin songs, and soulful and shouting on the dance numbers. Phantom Blues also included high-profile guest appearances by guitarist Eric Clapton and singer Bonnie Raitt. Mahal told Jim McGuinness in the Bergen County, New Jersey, Record, The album is designed to go down some familiar trails, but to look at new things. In 1997 he won a Grammy for Señor Blues.

If the mixing of genres such as blues, Zydeco, gospel, and Latin music seems natural today, it is because of pioneers like Mahal. He opened up myriad possibilities for young artists who wanted to expand their musical palette beyond traditional blues. Robert Christgau wrote in the Village Voice, In the 90s, Guy Davis, Keb Mo, Corey Harris, and Alvin Youngblood Hart, all flowing out of the surge in cultural consciousness that ensued as the offspring of the civil rights generation came into their own, prove Taj Mahal a prophet. While proud of his accomplishments, Mahal has remained more interested in pursuing current projects. He has recorded 30 albums and traveled throughout the world, continuing to explore new musical veins, playing as many as 200 dates a year, and releasing a steady stream of albums. Allan Orski noted in Music Hound Folk, Whether hes with a full band playing pop arrangements or stripped-down roots, Mahal has asserted himself as a keeper of the faith and a still vital force that continues to roam past musical boundaries.

Selected discography

Taj Mahal, Columbia, 1968.

The Natchl Blues, Columbia, 1968.

Giant Steps, Columbia, 1969.

Happy Just to Be Like I Am, Columbia, 1971.

Mo Roots, Columbia, 1974.

Taj, Gramavision, 1987.

Shake Sugaree, Music for Little People, 1988.

Tajs Blues, Columbia, 1992.

Señor Blues, Private Music, 1997.

Kulanjan, Hannibal, 1998.

Sources

Books

Marsh, Dave, and John Swenson, eds., New Rolling Stone Record Guide, Random House, 1983, p. 310.

Unterberger, Richie, Turn! Turn! Turn!, Backbeat Books, 2002, p. 214.

Walters, Neal, and Brian Mansfield, eds., Music Hound Folk, Visible Ink, 1998, p. 510.

Periodicals

Blues Revue, April 2000, pp. 11, 12.

Down Beat, November 1999, p. 42.

Grand Rapids Press, August 27, 2002, p. B4.

Record (Bergen County, NJ), April 5, 1996, p. 3.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 29, 1996, p. 8.

Village Voice, September 15, 1998.

On-line

Taj Mahal, All Music Guide, www.allmusic.com (February 3, 2003).

Taj Mahal, Biography Resource Center, www.galenet.com/servlet/BioRC (May 5, 2003).

Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

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Mahal, Taj 1942-

Mahal, Taj 1942-

PERSONAL

Birth name Henry Saint Clair Fredericks; born May 17, 1942, in New York, NY; brother of Carole Fredericks (a singer and actor); children: Yasmeen Mahal Montgomery (died, 2001).

Addresses:

Agent—International Creative Management, 10250 Constellation Way, 9th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067.

Career:

Composer, actor.

Awards, Honors:

Grammy Award nomination, album of best original score written for a motion picture, Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1974, for Sounder; Independent Spirit Award nomination, best original score, Independent Features Project West, 1993, for Zebrahead.

CREDITS

Film Appearances:

Ike, Sounder, 1972.

Ike, Sounder, Part 2, 1976.

Poor Alfred, Scott Joplin, Universal, 1977.

Narrator, Blues Country, 1983.

Gatekeeper, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, Image, 1991.

Mr.Will, Once Upon a TimeWhen We Were Colored, United Image, 1991.

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, Allen & Betty Klein and Company, 1996.

Six Days Seven Nights (also known as 6 Days 7 Nights), Buena Vista, 1998.

Dix, Mayal, Outside Ozona, TriStar, 1998.

Dexter Speaks, Songcatcher, Lions Gate Films, 2000.

Swing band singer, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Warner Bros., 2002.

Twist of Fate, 2002.

Hollywood's Magical Island: Catalina, 2003.

J. R. Cox, Killer Diller, Freestyle, 2004.

Television Appearances; Series:

Sage, The Blues Brothers Animated Series, 1997.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Playboy After Dark, 1969.

Beat-Club, 1970.

The Flip Wilson Show, NBC, 1973.

Musical guest, Saturday Night Live (also known as SNL), NBC, 1977.

Voice of Ellis, "Monster Blues," Aaahh!!! Real Monsters (animated), Nickelodeon, 1996.

"Ebony, Baby," Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man (animated), USA Network, 1997.

Carl, T. J.'s father, "The Beat Goes On," Fame L.A., syndicated, 1997.

Sessions at West 54th, PBS, 1997.

Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, 1997.

"Fillmore Street," Party of Five, Fox, 1999.

"Feel Like Going Home," The Blues, PBS, 2003.

"Big Horns George," Arthur (animated), PBS, 2003.

Also appeared in Sunday Night (also known as Michelob Presents Night Music).

Television Appearances; Movies:

Prisoner, The Man Who Broke 1,000 Chains (also known as Unchained), HBO, 1987.

Television Appearances; Specials:

The Boarding House, PBS, 1974.

The National Downhome Blues Festival, PBS, 1986.

An All Star Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, SHOW, 1988.

Farm Aid IV, The Nashville Network, 1990.

Story of a People: Expressions in Black, syndicated, 1991.

Lake Wobegon Spring Weekend, PBS, 1992.

Blue Note-A Story of Modern Jazz (also known as Blue Note), Bravo, 1997.

Blues Odyssey (also known as Bill Wyman's "Blues Odyssey"), 2001.

22nd Annual W. C. Handy Blues Awards, 2001.

Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Farther Along, 2003.

God Gave Rock & Roll to You, 2006.

RECORDINGS

Videos:

A Vision Shared: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, Sony, 1988.

Flashing on the Sixties: A Tribal Document, Pacific Arts, 1990.

Blind Willie's Blues: A Documentary Film, Cohn-DeSilva, 1997.

Taj Mahal: Live at Ronnie Scott's, BMG, 2002.

Taj Mahal & the Phantom Blues Band in St. Lucia, Image, 2006.

Albums:

The Blues, 1961.

The Natch'l Blues, Legacy, 1968.

Giant Step, Columbia, 1968.

Taj Mahal, Legacy, 1969.

Giant Step/De Ole Folks at Home, Columbia, 1969.

Happy Just to Be Like I Am, Mobile Fidelity, 1971.

Recycling the Blues & Other Related Stuff, Columbia, 1971.

The Real Thing, Legacy, 1972.

Ooh So Good 'N' Blues, CBS, 1973.

Mo' Roots, Legacy, 1974.

Music Keeps Me Together, 1975.

Anthology, Vol. 1, 1976.

Satisfied ' N Tickled Too, 1976.

Music Fuh Ya', Warner Esp., 1977.

Evolution, Warner, 1977.

Taj Mahal & Int' Rhythm Band Live, 1979.

Going Home, 1980.

The Best of Taj Mahal, Vol. 1, Columbia, 1981.

Taj, Gramavision, 1987.

Live & Direct, Laserlight, 1987.

Shake Sugaree, Music for Little People, 1988.

Peace Is the World Smiling, 1989.

Don't Call Us, 1991.

Big Blues: Live at Ronnie Scott, Castle, 1991.

Like Never Before, Private Music, 1991.

Mule Bone, Gramavision, 1991.

Taj's Blues, Legacy, 1992.

Collection, Griffin, 1992.

Dancing the Blues, Private Music, 1993.

World Music, Legacy, 1993.

The Rising Sun Collection, Just a Memory, 1993.

Mumtaz Mahal, Water Lily, 1995.

Live at Ronnie Scott's, London, DRG, 1996.

Phantom Blues, Private Music, 1996.

An Evening of Acoustic Music, Ruf, 1996.

Senor Blues, Private Music, 1997.

Shakin' a Tailfeather, Kid Rhino, 1997.

Taj Mahal and the Hula Blues, Tradition & Moderne, 1998.

Sacred Island, Private Music, 1998.

The Real Blues, Sony, 1998.

In Progress & in Motion, Legacy, 1998.

Blue Light Boogie, Private Music, 1999.

Kulanjan, Hannibal, 1999.

The Best of Taj Mahal, Columbia, 2000.

Best of the Private Years, Private Music, 2000.

Shoutin' in Key: Taj Mahal & the Phantom Blues Band Live, Hannibal, 2000.

Live at Ronnie Scott's, Sanctuary, 2001.

Hanapepe Dream, Tone-Cool, 2003.

Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Taj Mahal, Columbia, 2003.

Blues with a Feeling: The Very Best of Taj Mahal, BMG Heritage, 2003.

Live in San Francisco '66, SRI, 2004.

Take a Giant Step: The Best of Taj Mahal, BMG, 2004.

Sugar Mama Blues, Just a Memory, 2004.

Live at Ronnie Scott's, Silverline, 2004.

Taj Mahal & the Phantom Blues Band in St. Lucia, Image, 2005.

The Essential Taj Mahal, Sony, 2005.

Taj Mahal, Sundazed, 2005.

Songs for the Young at Heart, EarthBeat!, 2006.

WRITINGS

Film Scores:

Sounder, 1972.

Sounder, Part 2, ABC, 1976.

Brothers, Warner Bros., 1977.

Zebrahead (also known as The Colour of Love), Columbia TriStar, 1992.

Outside Ozona, 1998.

Taj Mahal: Live at Ronnie Scott's (video), BMG, 2002.

Taj Mahal & the Phantom Blues Band in St. Lucia (video), Image, 2006.

Lost, 2006.

Film Songs:

"Needed Time," Sounder, Paramount Home Video, 1972.

"Everybody is Somebody," Flag, France 3, 1987.

"Cakewalk Into Town," The Mighty Quinn, 1989.

Getting Even with Dad, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1994.

"Corinna," Phenomenon, Buena Vista, 1996.

"Rolling on the Sea," 2 Days in the Valley, Concorde, 1996.

Six Days, Seven Nights, Buena Vista, 1998.

"Pickin' that Thang," Songcatcher, Lions Gate, 2000.

"Woulda Coulda Shoulda," Someone Like You, Fox, 2001.

"Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes," Hollywood's Magical Island: Catalina, Blue Water, 2003.

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"Mahal, Taj 1942-." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal (täzh məhäl´, täj məhŭl´), mausoleum, Agra, Uttar Pradesh state, N India, on the Yamuna River. It is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and the finest example of the late style of Indian Islamic architecture. The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan ordered it built after the death (1631) of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The building, which was completed between 1632 and 1638, was designed by the local Muslim architect Ustad Ahmad Lahori; set in its carefully laid out grounds, it is a reflection of the gardens of Paradise to which the faithful ascend. The entire complex, with gardens, gateway structures, and mosque, was completed in 1648.

The Taj Mahal mausoleum stands at one end of the garden adorned with fountains and marble pavements. The garden contains four water channels to echo the four rivers of the Islamic Paradise. It rises from a platform 313 ft (95 m) on a side, bearing a white marble minaret at each corner; the enclosure, 186 ft (57 m) on a side, has truncated corners and a high portal on each side. The white marble exterior is inlaid with semiprecious stones arranged in Arabic inscriptions (designed by a local artist Amanat Khan, who was Shah Jahan's calligrapher), floral designs, and arabesques, and the salient features of the interior are accented with agate, jasper, and colored marbles. The roofing dome, on the inside, is 80 ft (24.4m) high and 50 ft (15.2 m) in diameter; outside it forms a bulb, which tapers to a spire topped by a crescent. The tomb chamber, with its two sarcophagi, is an octagonal room in the center of the edifice (the royal couple, however, are buried in an underground vault). The chamber is softly illuminated by the light that passes through double screens of intricately carved marble set high in the walls.

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"Taj Mahal." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal Mausoleum near Agra, n India, built (1632–54) by Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. By far the largest Islamic tomb ever destined for a woman, the Taj stands in a Persian water garden that represents Paradise. With its bulb-shaped dome, intricate inlays of semiprecious stones, and rectangular reflecting pool, it is one of the world's most beautiful buildings.

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"Taj Mahal." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Taj Mahal." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/taj-mahal

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal. A monument and tomb, built at Agra in India by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jehān (1592–1666), for his favourite wife Mumtaz-i-Māhāl. Shah Jehān was also buried within it, their tombs being surrounded by a marble screen bearing the ninety-nine beautiful names of Allāh. It was built between 1632 and 1647, and is now seriously threatened by air pollution.

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"Taj Mahal." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Taj Mahal." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/taj-mahal

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal a mausoleum at Agra built by the Mogul emperor Shah Jahan (1592–1666) in memory of his favourite wife, completed c.1649. Set in formal gardens, the domed building in white marble is reflected in a pool flanked by cypresses.

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"Taj Mahal." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Taj Mahal." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/taj-mahal

Taj Mahal

Taj MahalAmal, Arles, banal, Barisal, Basle, Bhopal, Carl, chorale, corral, dhal, entente cordiale, Escorial, farl, femme fatale, Funchal, gayal, gnarl, halal, Karl, kraal, locale, marl, morale, musicale, Pascal, pastorale, procès-verbal, Provençal, rationale, real, rial, riyal, snarl, Taal, Taj Mahal, timbale, toile, Vaal, Vidal, Waal •Stendhal • Heyerdahl • housecarl •cantal • hartal • Wiesenthal •Lilienthal • neanderthal • Emmental •Hofmannsthal • Wuppertal •Transvaal • Roncesvalles • Kursaal

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"Taj Mahal." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Taj Mahal." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/taj-mahal-0