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Editor's Explorations - Taj Mahal & Jazz Alley

  • Written by Kristen Hamilton

If you have the opportunity to see a musical legend…by all means GO!

We had just that chance when the Taj Mahal Quartet recently performed at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley in downtown Seattle.

TajQuartet2016Taj Mahal is arguably one of the most prominent and influential blues and roots musicians of the last 50 years.  He has had a tremendous career and in 2014 he was the recipient of the Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award.  He is a self-taught musician and he plays over 20 instruments.  His career began with American blues, but over the years he has broadened that scope to include music representing virtually every corner of the world.

The band was led out to the stage through the packed cheering crowd, and they jumped right in and started playing.   The band featured Taj Mahal (vocals, guitar, piano, banjo and more), Bill Rich (bass), Roger Glenn (vibes and winds) and Kester Smith (drums).  Although the band members can’t be described as spring chickens, that didn’t stop them from really grooving to the music.  They were all terrific, professional, and seasoned musicians and were really in sync with one another.  What a show!

We had been to Jazz Alley over 10 years ago to see Wynton Marsalis on a getaway from Montana to Seattle.  Frankly, we hadn’t remembered the specific venue until we were seated for dinner.

The small club atmosphere is perfect for listening to jazz music in an intimate setting.  We opted to have dinner at Jazz Alley prior to the show for two reasons: 1) we had to eat and 2) it gave us seating priority for the show.  It was worth it for this show as we did indeed have great seats.  Although from where we sat, it looked like just about every table and seat has a good view of the stage.
Dinner was good, but a little pricey.  We understood considering the venue, but we had already paid for our tickets so over all it was an expensive night on the town.  A good bonus was that free parking is offered one block from the club with a validated parking stub.  

For the music, we will certainly return and will probably try the non-dinner option next time for comparison.  Jazz Alley is definitely a great date night venue!

Some of the musicians performing in the coming months include: Sweet Honey in the Rock®: Celebrating the Holydays, Average White Band, Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, Pearl Django, and WAR.  Needless to say there is always great music on tap at Jazz Alley.

For more information on Taj Mahal visit www.tajblues.com.  

Visit www.jazzalley.com for upcoming schedules and venue information.  The FAQ tab is particularly helpful.

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