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Jimi Hendrix

One of the most creative, innovative guitarists of all time (even if you discount his penchant for setting guitars afire), Hendrix was already a veteran sideman for such noted artists as Little Richard and the Isley Brothers when he grew frustrated with the limitations of that role and moved to New York. Playing a club there one night, he was approached by bassist Chas Chandler of The Animals. That band was in the process of breaking up, and Chandler was looking for new projects. At his suggestion, Hendrix moved to London; Chandler, now his manager, found two local musicians to fill out the lineup, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience was born. The Experience's blend of raw blues and R&B with the emerging psychedelic sound, using lots of effects, feedback, distortion and other pyrotechnics, struck a nerve with a large audience, particularly after their galvanizing performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. Between the blockbuster debut of Are You Experienced? in 1967 and Hendrix's death from a drug overdose in 1970, he recorded prolifically and experimented widely, but also had trouble settling on a style and band lineup with which he felt comfortable; of his considerable work, only two more albums, Bold As Love and the fabled Electric Ladyland, were released in his lifetime. Since Hendrix's family regained control of his much-disputed estate in 1995, a steady stream of live recordings and other releases has become available.

Written by: Mary Eisenhart

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