Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Jimi Hendrix: The Voodoo Chile Lives On



















...Today's the last day of Black History Month here in the US and I thought I'd end the series by pointing to Jimi Hendrix who got his start on the R&B circuit and later rolled on to cross the codified lines of race, blur them by fusing the sounds/ stylistics of the rock 'n roll of his day, imbued it with the blues and jazz that came decades before him and turned it all into something fresh and new, he continues to influence artists from across the spectrum to this day and I think it's a fitting note to conclude on: the past, present and future are all a part of the same thread and when one takes a look back, it's clear that this link nourished Jimi's muse from his early days onward...here are a couple of notes that you may already know but maybe not...who cares? Let your freak flag fly for a few minutes and read on...


As a teenager Hendrix taught himself how to play guitar by listening to the (mostly blues) records of such artists as Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, B. B. King, Robert Johnson, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, and Buddy Holly. He never learned to write (sheet) music. He concentrated on reproducing what he heard on the radio or records. Hendrix’ lack of a formal musical education proved to his advantage. He didn’t have the sonic boundaries that many schooled instrumentalists develop from music theory standards. Hendrix thus milked sounds of feedback and distortion from the electric guitar and amp with consistency and masterful sensibilities, in addition to reinventing traditional blues motifs...


...In the pickup stage of his career, the young sideman Hendrix was always kept under wraps by the headlining performers with whom he played. The 1964 single “Testify” by The Isley Brothers is probably the only song (as a session musician) that gave a window of things to come...



Obviously a proficient instrumentalist, Hendrix was extremely self-conscious about his singing voice and rarely sung. He had never really stood out front until he began to perform with his own backing band, the Blue Flames in the early '60's...The unknown Jimi Hendrix opened for the “Pre-fab Four,” The Monkees, and was abruptly booed off the stage...Although the Experience was widely known in the U.K. in 1966, Hendrix would not perform in the U.S. with his chart-topping act until the summer of 1967...




















At the Experience’s Monterey debut concert, Hendrix capped his performance by burning his guitar, which his fans came to expect at every performance...When Hendrix formed the all-black Band of Gypsies, following the Experience’s breakup, he went to Billy Cox and Buddy Miles, whom he played with backing Wilson Pickett...Billy Cox was a buddy of Hendrix’s when he was parachutist in the U.S. Army...During his second U.S. tour, Hendrix stopped his stage antics (playing behind his head, with his teeth, etc.) and concentrated on his performances. This got a hostile reception from his fans, who came to see a “show.”...Amazingly, Hendrix’s career span in the international spotlight, when he made the majority of his musical contributions, was only four years...Hendrix’s set at Woodstock was “semi standard” to some present. His searing, machine-gun rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” would settle all questions regarding his guitar artistry...The Isle of Wight concert was to be Jimi Hendrix’s last. He died in England a few weeks later...

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1 Comments:

Anonymous jshua said...

Seriously.......

That Little Richard clip is legendary...

"Why?!?!?! What did I do!?!?!?!"

priceless....

6:25 AM, April 02, 2007  

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