4/14/10

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

I'm currently researching and preparing for upcoming exam papers and Jimi Hendrix is in there somewhere. Started listening to his albums again the other day and once again I'm going through a Jimi craze. Been a fan of Jimi since 1995 and having my fifteen year anniversary as a Jimi fan this year. So I've been a Jimi fan longer than I haven't :)

IMO he's the greatest guitarman ever. Pure virtuoso power and unbelievable energy. A guitar hero.  In the ancient greek sense of the word! :) The great thing about Jimi is that he wasn't just a wizard on the guitar, he was also a great singer, a great lyricist and a great songwriter and he knew how get full use out of the studio as an instrument. Add to that his shamanistic performance skills and you've got a seriously unique artist.
Jimi only released three studio albums in his lifetime, all three with The Jimi Hendrix Experience + live albums and a whole lot of unfinished business (studio tracks that have been released on different posthumous releases) but his legacy is astounding. All three Jimi Hendrix Experience albums are amazing. Jimi shines but lets not forget his great English rhythm section of Noel Redding (bass) and Mitch Mitchell (drums). Mitchell especially bangs some seriously freaked out 60's style drums.

My first introduction to Jimi's music was a compilation album and I think this is the case for many people. But when it comes to tracks that were released originally on one of his albums I prefer listening to them in the context of their respective albums;

Are You Experienced? (1967)
This is the US cover of the album. Prefer it to the UK/European one. An insanely good debut album by any standard. It features the most "hit" songs.

Axis: Bold As Love (1967)
Contains moments of extraordinary beauty. "Little Wing" anyone?

Electric Ladyland (1968)
The artistic high point. Everything just comes together here.

Jimi Hendrix was here for a very short time (debut album out in 1967 and by 1970 he was already dead at age 27) but his music is timeless. You can always go back to it and experience it with fresh ears. It doesn't wear out.
There's lots more to be said about Jimi and his post-The Experience work but this is it for now! I'll leave you with an amazing version of "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)" live from BBC*:

*Thanks Finnur Hansen for making me aware of this clip.

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