Nov 27, 2012
“Jimi had a trio that sounded like an avalanche coming down off Mt. Everest. Even when he laid out his band thundered on, bringing to mind Miles Davis’ fabled comment: “This black dude made two white cats play their asses off.” I loved that! Wes Montgomery was also playing around New York at the time but a Hendrix performance compared to a Wes performance—I once saw them both the same night—was simply iconoclastic. It was beyond categorization of jazz versus pop or blues. It was a force unto itself.” – Larry Coryell.
It would be wrong to call Jimi Hendrix a jazz guitar player, but it would be wrong to put him in almost any category. As a visionary who saw unlimited possibilities for his music, he belongs in a category all his own. Had he not died an unnecessary death on September 18, 1970 at the age of 27, many believe he would have collaborated with the likes of Miles Davis, Larry Coryell and John McLaughlin to create new avenues for the use of guitar, feedback and amplification in modern jazz. Or would he have gone into heavy, heavy funk with the likes of Sly Stone and Larry Graham? Would it have been a mix of the two, like the unreleased sessions he recorded in New York with organist Larry Young in 1969? What kind of fusion might have come from his integration of contemporary European Art music theorists like Stockhausen into his composition? Or would his Electric Sky Church gone off into parts unknown? Sadly, we will never know. We know that most jazz musicians of his generation who saw him live loved what they saw and heard. And we known that hundred of jazz musicians have at least tried to picked up his mantle after his death.
Podcast 316 features some of these jazz artists paying tribute to the great guitarist with songs written or recorded by Hendrix, on the day he would have turned 70 years old. Selections include:
Lonnie Smith Trio – “Purple Haze/Star-Spangled Banner” from Purple Haze – A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix.
Artur Dutkiewicz – “Angel” from Hendrix Piano.
World Saxophone Quartet – “The Wind Cries Mary” from Experience.
Hiram Bullock, Billy Cobham, and the WDR Big Band Koln – “Red House” from Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix.
Brian Bromberg – “Spanish Castle Magic” from Plays Jimi Hendrix.
Los Lobotomys – “Little Wing” from Los Lobotomys.
Brad Mehldau Trio – “Hey Joe” from Where Do You Start.
Jaco Pastorius – “The Medley: Purple Haze/The Third Stone From the Sun/Teen Town” from Smoke On the Water – Live in Rome, 1986.