It may be a select few musicians who have the audacity to name their album Maestro, but in the case of Taj Mahal, the title is well deserved. Mahal’s music is influenced by many cultural traditions including those of the Mississippi Delta, the Appalachian backwoods, the African continent, the Hawaiian Islands, Europe and the Caribbean. Conceived as a Forty Year Anniversary Album, Maestro also features guest performances by Ben Harper, Ziggy Marley, Jack Johnson, Los Lobos and others. Ironically, while it was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Contemporary Blues Album category, stand out tracks include the retro sound of “Scratch My Back”, performed by Otis Redding in the 1960s and the old-timey banjo of “Slow Drag”. And if all that weren’t enough, you can dance to it, too. “The one thing I’ve always demanded of the records I’ve made is that they be danceable” Mahal says.


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