4 of 4 thought this review was well writtenThe Jimi Hendrix Experience
20th Century Masters
The Band: Jimi Hendrix- Vocals, guitar
Mitch Mitchell- Drums
Noel Redding- Bass
Widely recognized as one of the most creative and influential musicians of the 20th century, Jimi Hendrix pioneered the explosive possibilities of the electric guitar. Hendrix's innovative style of combining fuzz, feedback and controlled distortion created a new musical form. Because he was unable to read or write music, it is nothing short of remarkable that Jimi Hendrix's meteoric rise in the music took place in just four short years. His musical language continues to influence a host of modern musicians, from George Clinton to Miles Davis, and Steve Vai to Johnny Lang. Yes, Jimi Hendrix is with out a doubt one of the most illustriously decorated guitarists of all time and this album is a compilation of his greatest creations.
Before I describe the album itself, I would like to tell you all a little more about Jimi. To say that Hendrix had a rough childhood would be an understatement. He came from a very poor family and at the age of nine his parents divorced. Now in most cases we hear about today, children who come from divorced families turn to violence and drugs to deal with the pain. But not Jimi, Jimi coped with his problems by focusing on music. Some of Jimi's influences were Buddy Holly, B.B King and Muddy Waters. He was also somewhat fond of Elvis.
Jimi acquired his first guitar at the age of fourteen. It was a battered old acoustic with only one string that another boy had thrown away. Jimi squeezed every possible sound he could out of that one string. Luckily for Jimi his father managed to save up enough money to buy him his first electric guitar. It was a white Supro Ozark. Jimmy taught himself how to play simply by watching others play and figuring out songs by ear. He also emulated the flashy moves of T-Bone Walker and the duck walk of Chuck Berry. Jimi continued to improve and started playing local shows.
After being expelled from high school Hendrix had a run in with the law when he stole a car. Hendrix traded in a two year sentence to enroll in the army. After one year in the army Hendrix was recommended for discharge. Several of Jimi's superiors in the army said that he couldn't handle the smallest of tasks and was often found asleep at his post. The main reason for this was that Jimi had other things on his mind. What things? Music, of course.
As soon as Jimi got back from the war he began to start to work on his music. He started his band The Jimi Hendrix Experience, who were an instant hit. People were intrigued by Jimi's unique style, amongst other things. For example his attire. Jimi often wore skin tight purple leotards with a matching bandana. Something else that intrigued people was his constant use of drugs. Remember when I said his parents divorce didn't push him into drugs? Well it didn't. But he ended up doing them anyways. It's been said that Jimi would actually smoke joints while on stage. I myself am not quite sure if it's true, but knowing Jimi it probably is. And that my friends, is Jimi Hendrix.
Now, back to the music. To say the guitar was phenomenal would be an understatement. It was virtually flawless. There isn't a man alive who can get quite the same sound out of amp that Jimi could. His unique blend of feedback and distortion is unlike that of any other guitarist. There are also a great deal of solos on the album. All of which were simply outstanding, breathe taking even. No one can use their wah pedal quite like Jimmy. What I especially liked was unlike most bands today, Jimi never relied on power chords to right a song. He used regular chords, or simply made up his own and in every song there is great riffage, throughout. This helps prevent songs from getting boring.
Now, I'm sure some of you out there are wondering about the rest of the band. Thus far, I've only talked about Jimi. Well take into consideration that the band is called The Jimi Hendrix Experience. So he is the focal point of the album. Mitchell and Redding were mainly just there because Jimi's live performances would sound quite empty without some underlying music. Although, don't think I'm saying that the bass and the drums weren't good. The drums were actually quite exceptional. I especially enjoyed the use of tambourine in the album. The bass didn't do too much but it did help to add to the funky feel of the album and had some pretty complex riffs here and there, although you couldn't really here them.
The vocals on the album were also marvelous. They were deep and meaningful, but at the same time they were easy going and fun. It's difficult to describe, really. A majority of the songs are about drugs and women, and I think I may have headr a few words here and there about racism. Not really sure. Aside from the words to songs I enjoyed Jimi's voice. It's very powerful, yet comforting.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Pros: Jimi's soloing
All tracks were extremely well-written
Cons: Jimi completely over shadowed other band members
Recommended Tracks: Purple Haze
All Along The Watchtower
And there you have it. My review. Hope you enjoyed it. It's almost a sin not to look into this if you aren't familiar with Jimi's material. He is one the most innovative guitarists ever. This album is especially good to look into if you're not familiar with Mr. Hendrix because it's pretty much all of his greatest songs, so everything on here is pretty top notch. Until next time, keep your stick on the ice.