12 Songs, 57 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

After 40 years in music and dozens of albums to his credit, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Taj Mahal has pulled off a tough trick — he’s attained the status of an American musical icon while remaining active, inventive, and capable of providing some creative surprises. Maestro is a fittingly diverse album filled with notable guest stars and plenty of genuine energy to get the music across. Mahal does reggae with Ziggy Marley (“Black Man, Brown Man”), soulful rock with Ben Harper (“Dust Me Down”), West African pop with Angélique Kidjo and Toumani Diabaté (“Zanzibar”), and he pairs with Jack Johnson (“Further On Down the Road”) as well as Los Lobos (“Never Let You Go”) without leaving a doubt as to who’s in charge here. He also delivers 12-bar blues (“TV Mama,” “Strong Man Holler”) and banjo-driven country blues with a New Orleans flavor (“Slow Drag”) as he’s been doing for decades and his voice sounds as earthy and rich as ever. The maestro’s in excellent form here and his many fans should enjoy this one.

EDITORS’ NOTES

After 40 years in music and dozens of albums to his credit, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Taj Mahal has pulled off a tough trick — he’s attained the status of an American musical icon while remaining active, inventive, and capable of providing some creative surprises. Maestro is a fittingly diverse album filled with notable guest stars and plenty of genuine energy to get the music across. Mahal does reggae with Ziggy Marley (“Black Man, Brown Man”), soulful rock with Ben Harper (“Dust Me Down”), West African pop with Angélique Kidjo and Toumani Diabaté (“Zanzibar”), and he pairs with Jack Johnson (“Further On Down the Road”) as well as Los Lobos (“Never Let You Go”) without leaving a doubt as to who’s in charge here. He also delivers 12-bar blues (“TV Mama,” “Strong Man Holler”) and banjo-driven country blues with a New Orleans flavor (“Slow Drag”) as he’s been doing for decades and his voice sounds as earthy and rich as ever. The maestro’s in excellent form here and his many fans should enjoy this one.

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