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Experience Hendrix DVD

Label-Experience Hendrix

Label number-14381-3918-2

For the last several years, the family of guitar god Jimi Hendrix have reaped the whirlwind of the guitarists' legacy. Releasing DVD/CD recordings ranging from his Woodstock appearance to his infamous Monterey debut, it's no wonder that Jimi is bigger in death then he is in life.

The DVD Experience Hendrix is no special exception. Featuring renowned blues artists such as Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy D. Lane and other hotshot celebrities, Experience Hendrix is indeed a celebration rather then a funeral death march.

When you look at the DVD jacket, you see these performances were taken from Seattle's Paramount Theater and the San Diego Street Scene. What are the years? That's not mentioned. You would assume this footage is something culled over a period of time.

The Native American blues/rock band Indigenous is no longer the family affair it once was. Only guitarist Mato Nanji stands holding the flag which is a pity. Him and his young siblings tear through an obscure "Hear My Train A Comin" with Nanji channeling Hendrix' spirit with uncanny ability that it resembles a personal exorcism of the soul.

Because the footage jumps from one year to the next, the continuity is broken and becomes fragmented. But it is easily overlooked. Stevie Ray Vaughan's rhythm section of bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton are the perfect foil for guitarist Kenny Wayne Sheppard and his vocalist Noah Hunt. Their spot-on rendition of "I Don't Live Today" is just as frightening with Sheppard ripping power chords from his Monterey Pop Strat.

The lowest point is Living Color's appearance. Getting Frank Marino, Popa Chubby, Chris Duarte or Walter Trout would have been a better investment on the dollar. Hotdogging and acting like clowns on a trampoline is not a way to pay tribute to Jimi. Hendrix was a showman with some restraint. Living Color just goes way over the line. Their segment is something to fast forward on the dvd.

Since Hendrix had some blues roots, it's only natural to see Hubert Sumlin and Jimmy D. Lane rip through "Killing Floor." Guitar magazine writer and musician Andy Aledort joins Hendrix cohorts Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell for the Isle of Wright stamp of "Freedom." An ensemble cast comes to the stage for a guitar war on "Voodoo Chile." Another low point. Too many guitars turn this into a riff fest of mismatched personalities. Singer Paul Rodgers tries his best to wail above the fortress of sound. He doesn't strain which is a difficult situation since everyone is cutting heads all at once. It's the price you pay when you front an orchestra of Fender Guitars screaming like hellhounds.

Thirty-eight years after his death, Jimi Hendrix still remains at the forefront of being a guitarist who revolutionized the instrument to go beyond the parameters of normalcy. He has to be enjoying the fact that youngsters play "Red House" at blues jams all over the world. Now that's what you call leaving your mark. Not too shabby. Right?.

by Gary Weeks

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