Taj Mahal recently released a new album, Mkutano, with The Taj Mahal Trio and The Culture Musical Club of Zanzibar in Eastern Africa.
A self-taught musician of more than 20 instruments, Mahal isn’t easily impressed, but for the new project he found himself highly impressed.
“[The Cultural Musical Club’s] music is amazing. They were open to the sea, everything that came from China, India, Sri Lanka, Ceylon, the Philippines, the Arab influence from the north and other African influences,” said Mahal, in a release about the album.
Mahal added that while there are different influences on this album and with the development of the trio, it hasn’t changed his music.
“People always think I’m doin’ something new. But really I been doin’ what I been doin.’
I am a composer. I am just movin’ along and I play what strikes my fancy,”
And with that thought in mind, Mahal said he has a firm belief that music helps to guide itself, “Ultimately, the music plays you, you don’t play the music,” he said.
Mahal said that one reason he has made the move to the Trio, versus his larger band, is that some of the musicians he’s been working with are ready to graduate to the next level in their careers.
“It’s time for them to go out on their own,” he said. “They’ve learned a lot and it’s time for them to sustain their own sound.”
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