Artist: Jimi Hendrix
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; 27th November at Seattle's King County Hospital, 1942 - 18th September 1970) was a U.S. guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Hendrix was not very popular in the U.S.A. at the outset of his musical career, only later gaining recognition after taking a trip to England in 1966 with The Animals' Chas Chandler, where he subsequently formed The Jimi Hendrix Experience with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell. While The Experience quickly became popular in England, they remained relatively unrecognised outside the country.
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Jimi Hendrix, People, Hell & Angels - Album Review - Contact Music (Reviews)
Jimi Hendrix: Blues (MCA) Guitar World, Jan 1998
Lets get the paradoxes out of the way right up front: the blues was a musical space to which Jimi Hendrix would always return in order to recharge his musical and spiritual batteries but, once refreshed, he generally couldnt wait to leave.
The blues was ever-present in everything he did; it was something that traveled with him into musical realms unimaginable to others, something he carried with him into songs and pieces which had nothing whatsoever to do with the conventional structures and themes of the blues, into worlds which the musics traditional grandmasters wouldnt recognise as blues or even as music. When he started out from a classical blues theme, he as likely as not ended up with something else entirely; but when he began with something strangely, terrifying, beautifully alien, it always turned back, one way or another, into the blues.
This collection of vault-gleanings some never before released, others disinterred from long-deleted vinyl, all new to the US CD market can therefore tell us only part of the story of Hendrixs complex love affair with the blues. Mostly jams and outtakes, they find Hendrix with his pants down: goofing, exploring and just plain havin fun. We get two versions of Red House: one a jam with organist Lee Michaels, the other from the original UK version of Are You Experienced and, for my money, an infinitely deeper and funkier take than the one on the current CD. There are two radically different versions of Hear My Train A-Comin: an impromptu 12-string acoustic performance which provides a vague idea of how Robert Johnson might have sounded if hed smoked a lotta weed and lived to hear James Brown, and a monumental 12-minute live jam marred only by severe tuning problems and the fact that the rhythm section Billy Cox (bass) and Mitch Mitchell (drums) drag the tempo down a notch as soon as they make their entrance. Theres an early take of the slow-blues version of Voodoo Chile, the one just before it coalesced into the monumental performance you can hear on Electric Ladyland. Theres an ear-opening romp through Muddy Waters Manish Boy better known to Bo Diddley fans as Im A Man which gets the same uptempo funkanisation that Hendrix gave Howlin Wolfs Killing Floor and B.B. Kings Rock Me Baby at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. There are a couple of intensely variable slow blues efforts, Bleeding Heart (a.k.a. Blues In C Sharp) and Once I Had A Woman, the former a fine and funky performance with the Experience and the latter flawed by some truly rotten mouth-harp and the audible wax-ing and waning of Hendrixs interest in the proceedings. And theres an insanely bouncy 12/8 shuffle, Jelly 292, which along with the Are You Experienced Red House should be this albums first port of call for Stevie Ray Vaughan fans. Theres another Muddy dive with Catfish Blues, similar to the cut on Rykodiscs Radio One CD but with the added bonus of a revved-up showtime finale.
And then theres Born Under A Bad Sign. This Albert King standard, custom-composed for the late lamented Big Guy by Booker T. Jones and William Bell in 1967 and covered by Cream almost immediately after its original release, starts out as youd expect, with Hendrix putting his own unique spin on Alberts time-honoured licks and bends, but before he even has an opportunity to open his mouth and sing the song, the Strat runs away with him. That riff becomes the springboard for some of the most thoroughly outside stuff Hendrix ever played, a full guided tour around the musical attic where Hendrix kept toys old and new. You can leave if you want to just jammin is all but you wont want to. Tone, timing, phrasing, attack, sense of space: if anyone needs reminding that Hendrix had it all, heres your wake-up call.
Needless to say, some of this stuff is rough as hell: as well it might be, since most of it was never intended for release. Fluffed words, out-of-tune guitars and dropped beats fly all over the place, and if that kind of stuff upsets you, consider this a 3-star album and stick to the regular Hendrix albums. This one is for blues buffs and Hendrix freaks, and for them or should I come clean and say us this one earns all of its five stars.
This music was made around a quarter of a century ago. Nevertheless, despite all thats happened since in the guitar world via the Eddies and Randies and Yngwies and Stevie Rays and Joes and Steves and Nunos and Dimebags, Hendrix still sounds like a contemporary. And a leading, cutting-edge contemporary at that. If you play blues and you want to step up to some new ways of approaching traditional materials or if you play rock and you want to inject some tough new blues into your musical muscles just walk this way.
Jimi Hendrix: The Music Melody Maker, Sep 1970
THE IMPORTANCE of Jimi Hendrix as a musician was sometimes forgotten behind the man's sexuality and the flamboyance of his act and appearance.
Yet he, above all others, brought rock into the electronic age, and his innovations were turned into cliches by a million lesser guitarists and groups.
Such is the speed of "progress" and communications these days that, very recently, Hendrix was sounding almost like a parody of himself, thanks to all the diluters and copyists who'd succeeded in debasing the currency he created.
In contrast to most of his contemporaries, he had a "feel" for rock and blues which was undeniable, and which gave force and conviction to his music. It's no accident that many well-respected guitarists, when asked to name their favourite, unhesitatingly plump for him.
Possibly his greatest achievement was that he created a viable fusion of black and white pop music, using his blues heritage on material heavily influenced by Bob Dylan, and in this he was arguably the first one (maybe still the only one) to succeed.
The Experience was a revolutionary band. Built on the solid rock bass of Noel Redding, it was complicated rhythmically by the playing of Mitch Mitchell, whose work in the early days was perhaps the best drumming yet heard in rock, and topped off by the whining, wailing guitar of Hendrix.
Their first album, Are You Experienced (Track), contains many classics, including two tracks 'Manic Depression' and 'Love Or Confusion' which have the trio working with exciting circular rhythmic/melodic patterns, swirling and charging with fantastic impetus.
'Red House', a simple blues, has Hendrix showing where his roots lay, in that familiar long-lined development of the B. B. King style, but it was '3rd Stone From The Sun' which suggested the greatest scope for development.
This track could be described as Sci-Fi Rock, a shimmering outing into deep space which compares well with Pink Floyd's 'Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun', and it represented an exciting departure which he never really followed up.
Axis: Bold A Love was the second album, a refinement of the first album, rather than a development. Among the best tracks were 'If 6 Was 9', a superb group performance with audacious drumming; 'Little Wing', a delicate song which demonstrated that Jimi didn't have to shake the room to make his point; and the title track, which had some of his best lyrics.
His double-album, Electric Ladyland, became renowned more for the 21 nude chicks on the sleeve than for its music, but the two long tracks 'Voodoo Chile' and '1983 (A Merman I Would Turn To Be)' were among the best things he ever did in a studio.
The B-sides of Jimi's early singles are well worth investigation. 'Stone Free' (on the back of 'Hey Joe') is a wild personal declaration of independence with a fantastic striding beat; '51st Anniversary' is a really amusing cut with great words, on the flip of 'Purple Haze'; and 'Highway Chile' (back of 'The Wind Cries Mary') is his exultant tribute to Dylan, the man with whom he seemed to have the closest affinity.
But it seemed certain that, some time this year, he reached the end of the road with the trio format, and he intimated as much in his last interview, with the MM's Roy Hollingworth, where he said that he was hoping to form a big band.
Listening to his records again, one is struck as much by the emotional breadth of his approach as by the rolling note-clusters and shivering high notes. Here was a man always striving to express himself as truly and as honestly as possible and when the man concerned happens to be a real innovator, we can't ask more.
It would be putting it too highly to say, in absolute terms, that Jimi Hendrix was a genius. But he certainly did more than most to increase the scope of rock and to improve its quality. That's quite enough.
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Live at Stockholm,Sweden (May 24,1967)
Jimi Hendrix - Purple Haze.
This is a performance of Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze.