For decades Taj Mahal has been pushing the boundaries of the blues as far as he has managed to push himself. He set the pace for the gritty, country blues with his 1968 debut (see "Checking up on My Baby") before pursuing blues eclecticism for some 30 years by dragging the form into entirely untraditional territories -- reggae, Zydeco, disco and calypso to name a few.
He even recorded an album of standards with Indian masters Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Ravi Kitran in 1995 before sitting in on a legendary take of "Fishin' Blues" on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's third Circle collection.
The man has his disciples. One such follower is Corey Harris, a 32-two-year-old globalized blues pioneer who makes good on Mahal's ideas by employing West African musical veterans alongside Sharde Thomas, granddaughter of fife legend Othar Turner, on his 2003 release, From Mississippi to Mali. Catch them both at the Cradle. Tickets are $22.50. For more information, visit catscradle.com.