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Hendrix, Jimi

Category: Musician or composer

James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American musician, singer and songwriter. Despite a relatively brief mainstream exposure of four years, he is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century.

Rolling Stone have ranked his three albums, Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland among the 100 greatest albums of all time and they ranked Hendrix as the greatest guitarist and the sixth greatest artist of all time.

Hendrix moved to Clarksville, Tennessee in 1962 and began playing gigs on the chitlin' circuit. He eventually earned a spot in the Isley Brothers' backing band and later found work with Little Richard, with whom he continued to play through mid-1965. He then joined Curtis Knight and the Squires before moving to England in late 1966 after having been discovered by bassist Chas Chandler of the Animals.

In 1967, Hendrix earned three UK top ten hits with the Jimi Hendrix Experience: "Hey Joe", "Purple Haze", and "The Wind Cries Mary". He achieved fame in the US after his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival later that year. The world's highest-paid performer, he headlined the Woodstock Festival in 1969 and the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970.

 Hendrix was an extraordinarily innovative composer and musician - inspired. He was instrumental in developing the technique of guitar amplifier feedback, and he helped to popularize the use of a wah-wah pedal in mainstream rock. He was among the first artists to use stereophonic phasing effects in music recordings.

"Hendrix pioneered the use of the instrument as an electronic sound source. Players before him had experimented with feedback and distortion, but Hendrix turned those effects and others into a controlled, fluid vocabulary every bit as personal as the blues with which he began."

And here is a little more, a quote about him and a hint that he benefited from the ability to experience synaesthesia and was thus probably like Scriabin and Soloman Sherevshevsky capable of experiencing the music of the universe.................


Jimi Hendrix often dreamt of sounds he wanted to bring out through his music. He also associated colors with sounds, visualizing the color purple as jealousy or anger, the color green as envy, and the full spectrum of a rainbow as a special girl in his life. The musical colors painted a 3-D effect of emotions that he wanted to portray throughout his music, much as an artist would use a paintbrush and paint to bring out images they envisioned.
 
It seems to me that composers such as Hendrix and Scriabin felt constrained by the Western system of music that had been pioneered at the time of Bach's 'Well Tempered Clavier'. Whilst Scriabin explored dissonance, often dispensing with melody, Hendrix began by tuning his guitar unconventionally and went on to detune it, bend notes and create sounds in very imaginative ways (such as by blowing over a comb on the introduction to Crosstown Traffic and slowing down mandolin notes on The Burning of the Midnight Lamp'.
 
I am sure that this is partly out of an innate desire to return to the 'modal' music of the Medieval; Greek etc period which is still played in India and other Eastern countries.

So Jimi Hendrix knew celestial music.

And one further relevant piece of information, he was left handed.

"Jimi Hendrix was naturally left-handed but his father tried to force him to play right-handed because he believed playing left handed was a sign of the devil. Hendrix took right-handed guitars and restrung them for playing left-handed (Cross 2005:55). Hendrix did continue to write right-handed. Jimi did learn to play right-handed as mandated by his father, he had to play right-handed any time his father was around (and left-handed, upside down, when his father was not around) or risked losing the guitar forever. Once he started making modifications that allowed him to play left handed with the strings in the proper order, he still had to play right-handed with the old man nearby, so he also learned to play right-handed with the strings upside down. His brother Leon's testimony confirms this in Sharon Lawrence's biography "Jimi Hendrix: the man, the magic, the truth" and in quotations from guitar players such as Mike Bloomfield in "Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child of the Aquarian Age" by Dave Henderson"

He died of barbiturate-related asphyxia at the age of 27.

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