Veteran blues giant Taj Mahal has won the B.B. King Award for his contribution to the genre. The artist, whose distinguished career stretches back over more than 50 years, received the honour during his performance last Saturday (2) at the 37th Festival International de Jazz de Montréal.
Mahal, now aged 74, is the third artist to receive the B.B. King Award, which was introduced to mark the festival’s 35th edition, “to honour and recognise the exceptional talent of an artist who has left an indelible mark on the blues scene.” It was first presented to the legend it was named after, in 2014, a year before B.B.’s death; harmonica player James Cotton was last year’s recipient.
The most recent appearance by Mahal on record was as one of Van Morrison’s guests on his Re-inventing The Catalogue album early last year; the guitarist and multi-instrumentalist’s own last studio release was as long ago as 2008, when he released Maestro, which featured contributions from members of Los Lobos, Ben Harper, Angélique Kidjo and others. This was followed in 2012 by the Hidden Treasures of Taj Mahal compilation of rare 1969-1973 tracks.
Mahal remains as busy as ever on the road, and now moves with his trio to France for his next show, which is on Saturday (9) at the Olympia in Paris. Further shows in France, Spain and Belgium will be followed by US dates later in the month.