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Subject: Re: Help on Jimi Hendrix ( 3 of 22 )
Posted by crumb100

Part I
Jimi Hendrix

Born Seattle, 1942; died 1970.

Though Jimi Hendrix is one of rock’s icons, it is hard to think of another artist who has been so often misrepresented. To the media and public alike, Hendrix was the wild man of rock, the chief advocate of the drug generation, uncontrollable, undisciplined and inarticulate. Many saw his career in terms of a rise to megastardom with flashy guitar histrionics, followed by a squandering of his talents and an ugly death from an overdose of the drugs that ruled his life. Yet the real Hendrix was a sensitive, soft-spoken and shy man; above all he was an instinctive musician and songwriter who was admired, not just by his contemporaries in rock but also by those in the jazz, folk, soul and blues worlds.

The real quality of his playing has been obscured by his showmanship. His skill was extraordinary, drawing his raw technique from blues giants like Albert King, and mixing in the subtlety and melody of jazz, and the dynamic rhythms of soul and R&B. With his uncluttered dexterity, he was as comfortable producing a crisp acoustic sound as he was with the brash, sometimes free-form electric delivery and breathtaking volume often considered his trademark. It is well-known that the generation of feedback became an integral part of his sound, but few realized that he used to orchestrate it, allowing the higher-register strings to feed back while harmonizing with the lower-register ones.

Hendrix’s rise was not meteoric. Despite demonstrating a flair for the instrument at a very early age, he was already in his early twenties before he made his first serious attempt to earn his living through music. By the summer of 1966 he had spent a tough period touring America with The Isley Brothers and Little Richard. Though he would later recall the frustration of playing ‘Top 40 standards’ night after night, there is no doubt that paying his dues in this way made his playing tighter, as well as expanding his stage skills. Many of Hendrix’s predecessors, from ‘T-Bone’ Walker to Chuck Berry, had learned from the same experiences -- you had to entertain people to survive on the live stage.
After passing through countless bands of varying quality, Hendrix wound up in New York, penniless. Adopting the stage name Jimmy James, he formed his own band, but it lacked the finesse and direction to attract serious interest; auditions for record companies were unsuccessful, as bosses failed to recognize any potential in the young guitarist whose talent must have outshone the abilities of his backing band.

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