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TAJ! at Yoshi's in Oakland

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal was born Henry St. Claire Fredericks in New York City to a musical family. Taj's father loved jazz and had been a writer and copyist for big bands and his mother had a background in church music. The family's large, floor model radio meant that music from around the world was plentiful.

Taj attended college in Massachusetts and graduated with a degree in agriculture. However, we're all thankful that Taj Mahal decided to spend his time singing and playing the blues rather than contributing to agricultural science and farming. His authority, presence and importance in American music were acknowledged with a United States Congressional Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.

That same year, Taj Mahal chose to celebrate the New Year's at Yoshi's jazz club in Oakland, California. Yoshi's is a world class jazz house and Japanese restaurant run by Yoshie Akiba. And celebrating New Year's with Taj Mahal and our hostess, Yoshi Akiba, is like partying with friends.

Though it was that floor model radio that first introduced Taj Mahal to Hawaiian music, it was the fourteen years that he spent actually living there that influenced his playing. He created two albums while he resided there. The new one is Hanapepe Blues.

Enjoy classic tunes, Hawaiian blues, Taj Mahal's wishes for the New Year on JazzSet!

""Goin' Fishin'"
"Johnny Too Bad"
"Need Somebody on Your Bond"
"Black Jack Davey"
"New Hula Blues"
"Sittin' on Top of the World"
"Annie Mae"
"Paint My Mailbox Blue"


  • Taj Mahal's Web site

  • Yoshi's Web site

    Thanks to Yoshie Akiba, Kaz Kazunori, Hiro Hori, Artistic Director Peter Williams, Sound Man Dan Pettit, with Marshall Lamm, Brook Weisner and Leila Chambers, and all here in Oakland for a beautiful New Year's Eve, originally broadcast live on NPR's Toast of the Nation.
    Phil Edwards is the music mixer, with Fred Olsen and Joel Pinner. Njemile Carol Jones is the Field Producer, with Technical Director Leo Del Aguila and Stage Manager Mary Alafetich. David Shih of KQED is our Production Assistant.

    Our Producer Becca Pulliam wrote this program, with Technical Director Duke Markos and my Recording Engineer Ginger Bruner at KNPR, Las Vegas .. JazzSet's Writer/Producer is Mark Schramm and Executive Producer is Thurston Briscoe III of WBGO Jazz 88 in Newark.

    Copyright 2007 NPR