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Taj is a towering musical figure–a legend who transcended the blues not by leaving them behind, but by revealing their magnificent scope to the world. “The blues is bigger than most people think,” he says. “You could hear Mozart play the blues. It might be more like a lament. It might be more melancholy. But I’m going to tell you: the blues is in there.”
Over the years, Taj had also emerged as a mind-boggling, multifaceted player. In addition to the guitar, he has become proficient on about 20 different instruments–and counting. “There weren’t an awful lot of people still playing these instruments that came from my culture,” Taj explains. “Not that they didn’t before, but nobody was playing them in the time I was. But I wanted to hear them. So I watched people play, got one, sat down, remembered the music that I was listening to, and started picking it out on the mandolin or banjo or 12-string.”