Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sony Legacy: Hendrix in the West (Jimi Hendrix)

Sony Legacy and the Experience Hendrix project initiated by his family to reissue remastered versions of his work are all set to bring  Hendrix in the West back to the store shelves.  Hendrix in the West is a set of live performances from the last two years of his life, the Royal Albert Hall on February 24, 1969, the San Diego Sports Arena on May 24, 1969, Berkeley Community Theatre on May 30, 1970 and the Isle of Wight Festival on August 30, 1970. Originally released in 1972 by Polydor and then soon after by Reprise, this album originally had eight tracks, with a smattering of standards in between original tracks.  The reissue reportedly has 5 additional tracks, though all available tracklistings onlyshow 11 of them.  The San Diego recordings have Noel Redding on bass, while the others are with Billy Cox.  

From revolutionizing the concept of using distortion of the electric output from the guitar as an art form, to rockstar histrionics like settling the guitar on fire, playing the guitar with his teeth or behind his back, from using his hip movements as an integral part of his performing a song to phrasing around the augmented 9th  dominant chord, effectively allowing him to switch between minor and major scales for the same dominant 7th, Hendrix laid the foundations for guitar work.  His use of distortion and heavy driven riffs were the precursor of what evolved into hard rock and heavy metal.  The version of Sunshine of Your Love on Valleys of Neptune verges on being a headbangers’ delight.  His influence on contemporary guitar might be unknown to the new generation of guitarists themselves but is undeniable.  The words fuzz and wah wah have long disappeared from the lexicon of modern guitar players, but were concepts/techniques  that he popularized, along with Roger Mayer, his sound engineer, who innovated to give him new vistas to explore in the realm of tonality, thus becoming one of the pioneers of charting the evolution of the “electric” guitar from that of an electric signal from an acoustic instrument to a tonal source that could be moulded, manipulated, mauled and managed to create textures appropriate to the mood of the composition.
Hendrix in the West

The release is slated for September 13, 2011, just about a week before his death anniversary on September 18.  You can pre-order it here.

You may also want to read my review of Valleys of Neptune and West Coast Seattle Boy.

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