Taj Mahal at Jazz Alley

Posted by Brandon |

Death? and I just got back from seeing the incomparable Taj Mahal play at Jazz Alley in Seattle. He put on an incredible show as always and it was a lot of fun even though we got stuck in the very back of the balcony and had to keep moving to see around this scruffy looking dude who was sitting on the railing in front of us. If you are going to Jazz Alley make sure you get there relatively early so you don't get stuck in the bankhead in the balcony.

Anyway, enough trashing on Jazz Alley (it is a great place to see a show as long as you are not up there). I actually am not a huge fan of the blues. Usually when you see blues shows you normally get those paint by numbers artists where every song seems to be the same thing, everything is played the same way with a couple of mixed up lyrics. It just always seems that for such a free-form and once dangerous genre it sure can be bland and repetitive lacking in any feeling. This amazes me when I hear it because the blues is supposed to be all about soul and feeling and yet, even when you hear some of the so-called greats (there sure are a ton of so-called greats in blues, ever been to a blues festival?) they seem to lack that feeling.

What I love about Taj is that he doesn't do anything by the book. Sure the backbeat and structure is the same but the way he solos is so different sounding than anyone else. If you broke him down technically you would cringe. He doesn't play the right notes, he is off rhythm a lot, he is all over the place. But he plays it with such soul and with such feeling that it absolutely works. It's what makes him unique among blues musicians and why I enjoy him where others bore me.