Taj Mahal doesn’t wait for permission. If a sound intrigues him, he sets out to make it. If origins mystify him, he resolves to trace them. If rules get in his way, he unapologetically breaks them. To Taj, convention means nothing — but traditions are holy. He has pushed music and culture forward, all while lovingly looking back.
If anyone knows where to find the blues, it’s Taj. A brilliant artist with a musicologist’s mind, he has pursued and elevated the roots of beloved sounds with boundless devotion and skill. Then, as he traced origins to the American South, the Caribbean, Africa, and elsewhere, he created entirely new sounds, over and over again. As a result, he’s not only a god to rock-and-roll icons such as Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones, but also a hero to ambitious artists toiling in obscurity who are determined to combine sounds that have heretofore been ostracized from one another. No one is as simultaneously traditional and avant-garde.
Jaqua Concert Hall, The Shedd Institute, 285 E Broadway, Eugene. Tuesday, November 19, 9:00 pm. $49.00 – $79.00 at tickets.theshedd.org.