Taj Mahal Preps New Album ‘Savoy’ Featuring Reimagined Standards

Hear the living legend’s interpretation of “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You” from the forthcoming new album.

By Scott Bernstein Jan 16, 2023 10:13 am PST

Taj Mahal will release a new studio album entitled Savoy on April 28 via Stony Plain Records. The renowned roots musician shared his take on “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You,” one of 14 standards he recorded for the upcoming release.

The 80-year-old multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter recruited old friend and collaborator John Simon (The Band, Leonard Cohen) to produce Savoy. Simon and Taj Mahal had spent decades discussing the project and finally entered the studio together last August.

Recorded at Oakland’s 25th Street Recording with engineer Gabriel Shepard, Savoy features Taj on vocals and harmonica backed by guitarist Danny Caron, bassist Ruth Davies, drummer Leon Joyce, Jr. and John Simon piano. Carla Holbrook, Leesa Humphrey, Charlotte McKinnon, Sandy Cressman, Sandy Griffith and Leah Tysse contributed background vocals. Additionally, Taj Mahal duets with Maria Muldaur on “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”

The title of Taj Mahal’s forthcoming LP pays homage to the famed Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, a venue where his parents met for the first time. “I heard [the songs on Savoy] as a kid when all of those people who made those musics were alive and speaking to us through the records,” Taj Mahal explained. “Those weren’t just records to collect. Those were like listening to your relatives, your uncles, your cousins, your grandparents speaking to you through that medium, the medium of music.”

Taj Mahal selected standards penned and popularized by the likes of Duke Ellington, Louis Jordan, George Gershwin and Louis Armstrong for inclusion on Savoy. “The music was good then. It’s going to be good now,” continued Taj and added, “especially when you got people who really respect what it is. Also, [who] respect the gift they’ve been given. It’s a gift to be able to play music, art, dance, write, do science, whatever, ‘cause you’re contributing to humanity. What you’ve been sent to do, that’s the whole thing.”

“Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You” was written by Andy Razaf and Don Redman. Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Dr. John and Diana Krall are among those who have recorded covers of the song. Hear Taj Mahal’s interpretation below:

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Savoy Tracklist

  1. Stompin’ At The Savoy
  2. I’m Just A Lucky So And So
  3. Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You
  4. Summertime
  5. Mood Indigo
  6. Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby
  7. Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me
  8. Sweet Georgia Brown
  9. Baby It’s Cold Outside (duet with Maria Muldaur)
  10. Lady Be Good
  11. Baby Won’t You Please Come Home
  12. Caldonia
  13. Killer Joe
  14. One For My Baby
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