The blues is a form of American music with its origins in African-American spirituals, work songs, chants, and praise songs. This style of music incorporates blue notes—flatted notes in place of an expected major interval, and a repetitive pattern that is generally in a 12-bar structure.
The blues style is the foundation of almost every major 20th century American music form, including jazz, rhythm and blues, rock, and hip-hop.
Taj Mahal is a multiple Grammy Award-winning blues musician who has performed since the 1950s. He has had major influence on the blues by infusing it with non-traditional forms and world music.
Taj Mahal was born Henry St. Claire Frederick in Harlem, New York, in 1942. His father was a jazz pianist, composer and arranger of Caribbean descent, and his mother was a schoolteacher and gospel singer from South Carolina. The Frederick household was filled with music from around the world, and his family frequently hosted musicians from the Caribbean, Africa, and the U.S. Young Henry learned to play many instruments and to appreciate a wide range of musical styles. He took his stage name Taj Mahal when he was a student at the University of Amherst. He was studying agriculture but he formed a popular party band, the Elektras. He said the name came as a result of dreams of India, Gandhi, and social justice.
Taj Mahal continues to tour and perform. Read more about his music and career at the Taj Mahal web site.