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Artist: Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

Bio

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. It was not until their 1967 performance at the Monterey International Pop Festival in the States that The Experience became, quite literally overnight, one of the most popular bands of the era. Hendrix was mostly self-taught on the guitar. He was ambidextrous but chose to play the guitar upside-down and re-strung for playing left-handed, which suggests that he was more comfortable left-handed. As a guitarist, he built upon the innovations of blues stylists such as B.B. King, Albert King, Buddy Guy, T-Bone Walker, and Muddy Waters, as well as those of rhythm and blues and soul music guitarists such as Curtis Mayfield. Hendrix's music was also influenced by jazz; he often cited Rahsaan Roland Kirk as his favourite musician. In addition, Hendrix extended the tradition of rock guitar; although previous guitarists, such as The Kinks' Dave Davies, Jeff Beck, and The Who's Pete Townshend, had employed techniques such as feedback, distortion and other effects as sonic tools, Hendrix was able to exploit them to a previously undreamed-of extent, and made them an integral part of his own private, unique genre, which he called "Red". Jimi's father Al Hendrix is credited as the one who gave Jimi his first real guitar, and (less positively) for claiming posthumous copyright ownership to suppress the publication of, for example, a live collaboration album between Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Buddy Miles, and Johnny Winter. Earlier, the two would have jam sessions with Al on either bass or saxophone. As a record producer, Hendrix was an innovator in using the recording studio as an extension of his musical ideas. Hendrix was notably one of the first to experiment with stereo effects during the recording process. Hendrix was
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News

Miami Pop Festival by Jimi Hendrix - ArtistDirect

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11/04/2013
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Jimi Hendrix, People, Hell & Angels - Album Review - Contact Music (Reviews)

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Let's get this out of the way straight out of the gate: People, Hell & Angels is by no means essential Hendrix, neither is it a cynical cash in....

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People, Hell and Angels by Jimi Hendrix - ArtistDirect

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03/04/2013
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Articles

Jimi Hendrix: Blues (MCA) Guitar World, Jan 1998

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Let’s 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 couldn’t wait to leave.

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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 music’s traditional grandmasters wouldn’t 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 Hendrix’s 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 he’d 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. There’s 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. There’s an ear-opening romp through Muddy Waters’ ‘Manish Boy’ – better known to Bo Diddley fans as ‘I’m A Man’ – which gets the same uptempo funkanisation that Hendrix gave Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘Killing Floor’ and B.B. King’s ‘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 Hendrix’s interest in the proceedings. And there’s an insanely bouncy 12/8 shuffle, ‘Jelly 292’, which – along with the Are You Experienced ‘Red House’ – should be this album’s first port of call for Stevie Ray Vaughan fans. There’s another Muddy dive with ‘Catfish Blues’, similar to the cut on Rykodisc’s Radio One CD but with the added bonus of a revved-up ‘showtime’ finale.

And then there’s ‘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 you’d expect, with Hendrix putting his own unique spin on Albert’s 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 won’t want to. Tone, timing, phrasing, attack, sense of space: if anyone needs reminding that Hendrix had it all, here’s 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 that’s 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

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THE IMPORTANCE of Jimi Hendrix as a musician was sometimes forgotten behind the man's sexuality and the flamboyance of his act and appearance.

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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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Top Albums

Are You Experienced? cover art

Are You Experienced?

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Electric Ladyland cover art

Electric Ladyland

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Axis: Bold As Love cover art

Axis: Bold As Love

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Are You Experienced cover art

Are You Experienced

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Top Songs

Purple Haze cover art

Purple Haze

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All Along the Watchtower cover art

All Along the Watchtower

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Hey Joe cover art

Hey Joe

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Foxy Lady cover art

Foxy Lady

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The Wind Cries Mary cover art

The Wind Cries Mary

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Fire cover art

Fire

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Red House cover art

Red House

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Recommended Albums

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Recommended Songs

White Room cover art

White Room by Cream

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Light My Fire by The Doors

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