Sunday, March 14, 2010

new Jimi Hendrix releases in stores

40 years after his passing, Jimi Hendrix's music is alive and well, not to mention very busy these days.

The new album, “Valleys Of Neptune,” hit stores this past week; it features the last recording sessions of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience lineup along with Jimi’s first studio stuff with bassist Billy Cox.

The material was mostly recorded during a four-month period in 1969, between the release of “Electric Ladyland” and the 1970 opening of Jimi’s own Electric Lady Studios in New York’s Greenwich Village. Featuring more than an hour of music, “Valleys” was originally produced by longtime associate, Eddie Kramer, who was brought in to do the remix for this set.

Recorded in May of ’70, the title track was released last month and made its arrival known immediately by entering the Billboard singles chart at #1, ahead of artists like Sade and Lady GaGa.

Beyond the new disc, there’s the 2010 Jimi Hendrix Catalog Project, which sees the release of new deluxe cd/dvd and vinyl editions of all of Jimi’s studio albums; the dvd’s feature full-length documentaries complete with interviews with Experience bandmates Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell, Billy Cox, original producer Chas Chandler, and engineer Kramer. In case you needed more, the compilation “Smash Hits” is also out again, and the “Live At Woodstock” DVD is being issued in both standard and Blu-ray versions.

The month-long 2010 Experience Hendrix Tour of the U.S. kicked off this past week with shows in California. This fourth edition of the tour features Joe Satriani, Jonny Lang, Eric Johnson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford, Doyle Bramhall II, Ernie Isley, Living Colour, Double Trouble's Chris Layton, along with bassist Billy Cox. Special guests are expected to sit in at various stops on the tour.

While all of these players were clearly affected and influenced by Hendrix, Satriani’s life, in particular, changed forever the day Jimi died: on September 18, 1970, upon hearing the news, Joe walked off the high school football field and told the coach he was quitting the team to become a guitar player. Joe explained to his family over dinner that night “'Jimi Hendrix died today and I'm going to devote my life to playing the electric guitar.” Joe had never played guitar before; he’d only tinkered with drums and piano and those weren’t clicking for him; he calls Jimi’s passing a “defining moment” in his life. Last year, Joe wrote a great piece about this for entitled “How Jimi Hendrix Changed My Life” - it’s worth a read here.