Last Call celebrates the 70th birthday of Jimi Hendrix. Born November 27, 1942, Hendrix was one of the most artistically accomplished guitarists in music history. Hendrix's style of combining feedback, fuzz and controlled distortion was a major innovation in the history of the electric guitar. Combined with technique and imagination that placed him light-years of most of the rock guitarists of the day, Hendrix's brief career as an internationally celebrated guitarist is legendary.
While with his power trio the Jimi Hendrix Experience, he recorded three groundbreaking albums. On the first "Are You Experienced", "Third Stone from the Sun" presents a riveting, cosmic jazz experience of interplanetary flight, aided by drummer Mitch Mitchell's drums which remind one of the persistent pulse of legendary jazz drummer Elvin Jones.
In 1969 Hendrix appeared with an expanded ensemble at the historic Woodstock music festival in upstate New York. That performance culminated in the guitarist's historic re-interpretation of "The Star Spangled Banner". Using all of the tools at his artistic disposal, Hendrix crafted an interpretation of the US national anthem which was to this fan's ears as much an experience of cosmic pentacost as well as a political statement. In doing so Hendrix mirrored the "esctastic" period of Free Jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler; both artists were able to convey through their music an experience of the Divine that was raw and immediate.
While Hendrix is known worldwide for his power trio the Jimi Hendrix Experience, he also made very significant recordings with the Band of Gypsys in a series of live concerts at the Fillmore East on New Years 1970. That band included Billy Cox on bass and Omaha native Buddy Miles on drums. "Machine Gun" was a masterpiece from these shows, a potent statement supercharged with emotion and depth of feeling. Last Call featured an extended performance of "Stone Free" from this trio on Saturday night's program.
Hendrix has also been credited for being a primary influence on Miles Davis and the trumpeter's artistic path to jazz-rock in the late 1960s. This influence is palpably felt on the Miles Davis recording "A Tribute To Jack Johnson" from which a selection was also featured on Saturday night's program. Hendrix jammed with Rahsaan Roland Kirk and also recorded with organist Larry Young and bassist Dave Holland, in addition to the Brecker Brothers. Additionally, Gil Evans was a huge fan of Jimi Hendrix, and released "The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays The Music of Jimi Hendrix" in 1974. Jimi Hendrix died in September, 1970.
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