Mumtaz Mahal

by: Taj Mahal/V.M. Bhatt

Taj Mahal is joined by Indian master musicians N. Ravikiran and V.M. Bhatt on a selection of tunes that ultimately owe more to obvious blues clichés than they do to cross-cultural collaboration. Perhaps that's because nearly half of the album's tunes -- including Robert Johnson's "Come on in My Kitchen," "Mary Don't You Weep," and "Johnny Too Bad" -- have long been staples of Taj Mahal's concert catalog. This isn't to say that the set doesn't have any moments of inspired improvisation and nuanced playing; there are a few instances of brilliance. But that seems a terrible waste of the talent gathered, unless the listener is looking for nothing more than an unlikely blues workout. ~ Brian Beatty

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