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The Jimi Hendrix Experience
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The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Box Set)
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The power and vision of Jimi Hendrix is restored anew with this new edition of the acclaimed 4CD box set, The Jimi Hendrix Experience. First released in 2000, The Jimi Hendrix Experience presents previously unreleased concert and studio recordings which span the visionary guitarist's remarkable four year career from 1966-1970. Beginning with the first known recordings of the Jimi Hendrix Experience in October 1966 to the guitarist's final multi-track recording session at Electric Lady Studios in August 1970, this unique four CD box set concentrates on unreleased or commercially unavailable music. Alternate versions of classics like 'Purple Haze,' 'Foxy Lady' and 'Little Wing' mix with stunning, unheard Hendrix music such as 'It's Too Bad' and 'Country Blues.' These 60 recordings - presented in chronological order - trace the meteoric ascent of the greatest guitarist of all time.
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For the price, this collection is hard to beat. The completist might sniff that all this is already in their collection. The curious traveler, new to this man's genius, should probably start elsewhere in Jimi's body of work (e.g., AYE, AXIS: BAL, or even EL). The ardent admirer will find loose ends, diamonds in the rough, flat-out overlooked gems; and out-of-print masterpieces. Again, four jam-packed CD's that deliver the goods. I have had this for quite sometime as a Prime addition to my digital library. While the price is right and access is nearly idiot-proof, nothing beats the sonic clarity of this auditory orgy on CD. A 180 gram vinyl version would cost more than an arm and a leg and be totally unwieldy. Plus, 50 year old recordings pumped to sufficient volume so as to overcome 66 years of live concerts blasted at this reviewer's ears is a sucker's bet stacked in Father Time's favor.
because of the number of songs you get a taste of, otherwise a one or two star. Do yourself a favor and buy the albums. If I had
heard this prior to buying, I wouldn't have bought it.
Second: The set is lovingly and beautifully mixed and mastered. The alternate studio takes are a revelation. There isn't a cut on all four discs that isn't essential to anyone who has ears to hear.
Hendrix was the greatest visionary musician of the 20th century. If you don't know that, if you suspect it but aren't quite sure, if you think "maybe yes, but what about Miles, Coltrane, Armstrong" etc., I say, get this set; go directly to disc 3, track 7, and think again. Which is not a cut to Louis Armstrong or anyone else in his class. They definitely made Hendrix possible. Maybe you won't agree with me in placing Hendrix a notch above, but in any event, he's in their company.
If you already know this, then KNOW THIS: there is much here that you've never heard, and that you NEED to hear. What a great thing that Hendrix didn't know how to write or read music; that he used the recording studio as his laboratory. This set contains much of that experimentation/improvisation. Along with the excellently recorded "live" cuts, the results are nothing short of IN-SIGHT (in the Longergan-ian sense)into one of the great musical geniuses of all time. Yes. Of all time.
This album spans Hendrix's entire solo career. On disc 1, you can hear why, Londoners, and later, New Yorkers at Club Wha, FREAKED OUT when they heard him play. It's still fresh and full of remarkable guitar playing. In addition to alternate takes from *Are You Experienced?* and *Axis Bold as Love*, you get his great Monterey Pop recordings of Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" and lots of other juicy live stuff from Jimi's freakily manic early American concerts.
Disc 2 shows Hendrix getting more and more confident and centered in his vision. Plus, this is where he starts to use all his technical chops, not just as a guitarist (the best there ever was) but also as a studio technician. Eddie Kramer deserves loving credit here too. I don't know of any other more fruitful collaboration in the history of recorded music, with th possible exception of the Solti/Culshaw "Golden" Ring (Wagner: Der Ring des Niebelungen" on Decca/London)of the late 50's - early 60's.
Disc 3, with much of the previously released material from *In the West* has excellent versions of "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)," "Stone Free," and "Purple Haze."
Disc 4 has a lot of excellent alternate versions to songs that were made perfect in the miraculous live album "Band of Gypsies" and provide a glimpse into what might have been "Country Blues" and "Message to Love" are particularly fine.
The digital remastering is excellent. The sounds are beautifully mixed, showing that the Jimi Hendrix "experience" was the result of one man's vision supported by the indispensible collaboration of Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding, Billy Cox, Buddy Miles, the aforementioned Kramer, and Chas Chandler, among a host of others.
Shell out the cash for this set. You won't be disappointed.