CIMMfest & Old Town School of Folk Music Present: Taj Mahal Trio 9:30 PM Show
Grammy winner and an Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Taj Mahal brings his eclectic mix of blues, roots, and international sounds to the Old Town School of Folk Music. Joining him in the Taj Mahal Trio are drummer Kester Smith and bassist Bill Rich. “The Crown Prince of the Blues,” Sammy Blue and the legendary “singer of songs” Rita Graham open for the trio.
Sammy Blue was described by Taj Mahal as “one of the best kept secrets in roots music”. Sammy has been a journeyman bluesman in Atlanta for over 45 years, fronting his own band The Sammy Blue Band and opening for legendary acts such as Muddy Waters, Jerry Garcia, Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, and Lightnin Hopkins. Blue was nominated for Grammy awards in 2008 & 2014 for Hottrax Records releases “EveryThang & Mo” and “Sammy Blue a Blues Odyssey”. At a young age he drove for Johnny Shines, and soaked up his Robert Johnson style. He played with and knew Muddy Waters intimately, and Sammy's unique blend of East Coast, Delta, Texas and Chicago style blues led Muddy Waters to crown Sammy "Crown Prince of the Blues" Sammy was recently featured in Clint Eastwood's Trouble with the Curve and played the part of the Guitar Man in Sarasota’s West Coast Black Theater Troupe’s production of George Wolfe's “Spunk”. Sammy's performance in We Are Kings was widely acclaimed as a tour de force. The Dove Association's review said, "Sammy Blue gives a remarkable performance in this movie as IB King, a blues singer who can flat out sing and play the guitar.”
Rita Graham's career as a jazz vocalist was jump-started when Ray Charles produced an album of lush standards for her in 1969. The album, "Rita Graham Vibrations" is the only major project that Ray Charles personally produced for a single female artist on his own Tangerine record label. As the lead vocalist in Rita and the Tiaras, Ms. Graham recorded the UK Northern Soul Classic, "Gone with the Wind is My Love", and the song has a cult following in the Northern Soul Movement in England. A stint as one of Ray Charles' Raelettes was followed by a two-year featured spot with the Harry James Orchestra, (www.Jasminerecords.com. Harry James, Live in London ), European and Far East tours, and a series of recordings produced by TV composer Mike Post. She was featured with jazz great Oscar Peterson, Mercer Ellington and the Duke Ellington Orchestra and comedian Redd Foxx, as well as originating the role of Coretta Scott King in the off-Broadway Woodie King Jr. production of the Martin Luther King, Jr. documusical “Selma”. Rita performs widely in jazz festivals across the US and in Atlanta.