April 19, 2007

VOODOO BANJO:

Otis Taylor: Singing the blues, with new textures (Mike Zwerin, April 17, 2007, Bloomberg News)

Otis Taylor has become one of those musicians who are too good to be famous - but not good enough to be good and popular at the same time, like, for example, Jimi Hendrix. They are famous for not being famous.

His new album, "Below The Fold" (Telarc), continues his exploration of the universality of the blues, combining it with country music (banjos, fiddles), jazz (trumpeter Ron Miles), classical music (cellos), and African grooves. [...]

Taylor is a sophisticated 21st-century version of the traditional West African oral historians called griots. With some irony, he calls it "voodoo music." Actually, it might be called cool: The melodies are catchy, the lyrics universal. He's been compared with the Velvet Underground and John Lee Hooker, and described as a combination of Ali Farka Touré and Nick Cave. [...]

His next recording, currently in production, will be called "Recapturing the Banjo," and will feature black guitarists such as Keb' Mo' and Corey Harris playing banjos.

MORE:
-The Hypnotic Banjo: Otis Taylor's spooky, trance-inducing blues. (John Morthland, Sept. 3, 2003, Slate)
-Otis Taylor: Bluesman with a conscience (Tony Engelhart, Hybrid)
-Otis Taylor’s “Rosa Rosa” (Jenny Shank, 12-16-05, New West)


Posted by Orrin Judd at April 19, 2007 6:47 AM
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