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      Taj Mahal

      Taj Mahal

      Highest Rated: 91% Sounder (1972)

      Lowest Rated: 25% Outside Ozona (1998)

      Birthday: May 17, 1942

      Birthplace: New York, New York, USA

      Singer-guitarist Taj Mahal was one of the most passionate proponents of traditional music in all its forms, from blues and jazz to Caribbean and African music, which he often interwove in riveting and intricate arrangements on albums and in concert over the course of a five-decade career. Born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks on May 17, 1942 in Harlem, New York, Mahal was raised in Springfield, Massachusetts by a family steeped in music: his mother sang in a gospel choir, while his West Indian father was a musician arranger who introduced him to jazz and African music. Though he studied a wide variety of instruments, from acoustic guitar to piano and harmonica, Mahal initially pursued a career in agriculture. But a stint as bandleader for a rhythm and blues act in college brought him back to music, and after adopting the stage name Taj Mahal, he headed west and fell in with the folk and blues scene centered at the Ash Grove club in Santa Monica, California. In 1964, he joined guitarist Ry Cooder to form Rising Sons, a folk-rock act that initially drew notices for being one of the few integrated bands of the period; the group split after their album for Columbia went unreleased, and Mahal commenced on a career as a solo performer with his 1968 self-titled LP. He soon established himself as a blues traditionalist, preferring a fingerpicked acoustic approach to electric arrangements, but over time, Mahal integrated a wide variety of roots-based styles into his music, including reggae and calypso, jazz and zydeco, as well as West African and New Orleans rhythms. Critical acclaim for these efforts led to soundtrack assignments for "Sounder" (1972) and "Brothers" (1977), but following a move to Warner Bros. in the mid-'70s, Mahal's career stalled due to changing tastes in music. He relocated to Hawaii, where the islands' indigenous sounds re-kindled both his interest in traditional music and his career; by the early '90s, he was again touring regularly and recording an array of musical projects, from Hawaiian sounds on Taj (1987) and songs for children on Shake Sugaree (1988) to the score for "Mule Bone," a long-lost play by Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Renewed interest in his music allowed him to continue exploring a full range of musical styles, from rock and R&B for the Private Music label to collaborations with Indian performers on Mumtaz Mahal (1995) and Malian kora legend Toumani Diabate on Kulanjan (1999). His long and storied career was honored with a number of tributes, including two Grammys, a doctorate degree from Wofford College and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association.

      Highest rated movies

      Sounder
      Songcatcher
      Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
      Killer Diller
      Outside Ozona

      Photos

      Seth Avett, Scott Avett, Taj Mahal, Bob Crawford at arrivals for AMERICAN EPIC Premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2016, The Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, Park City, UT January 28, 2016. Photo By: James Atoa/Everett Collection SOUNDER, Taj Mahal, 1972 SOUNDER, Paul Winfield, Yvonne Jarrell, Cicely Tyson, Kevin Hooks, Taj Mahal, 1972 SOUNDER, Paul Winfield, Yvonne Jarrell, Eric Hooks, Cicely Tyson, Kevin Hooks, Taj Mahal, 1972

      Filmography

      Movies

      Credit
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Blues Planet: Triptych Unknown (Character) - 2017
      91% 89% Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World Self $223.8K 2017
      No Score Yet No Score Yet The American Epic Sessions Music Performer - 2016
      40% 74% Killer Diller J.R. Cox (Character) $17.3K 2004
      74% 77% Songcatcher Dexter Speaks (Character) $3.1M 2001
      25% 43% Outside Ozona Dix Mayal (Character) $7.4K 1998
      75% 69% Zebrahead Original Music $1.1M 1992
      56% 56% Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey Gatekeeper (Character) $38.0M 1991
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Part 2, Sounder Ike (Character) - 1976
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Sounder Part II Ike (Character) - 1976
      91% 77% Sounder Ike (Character) - 1972
      No Score Yet 92% The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus Unknown (Character) - 1968

      TV

      Credit
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Tavis Smiley Guest 2016-2017
      No Score Yet 48% The Late Show With Stephen Colbert Guest 2017
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Late Night With Jimmy Fallon Music Performer 2010
      No Score Yet 58% Saturday Night Live Music Performer 1977