Personalities | Jimi Hendrix | Sixties | Jazz & Blues

(Guitar, vocals, 1942–70)

This left-handed Seattle, Washington native taught himself to play by flipping over a $5 acoustic guitar and copying licks from blues, R&B and rock’n’roll records. Hendrix apprenticed on the R&B circuit, backing up Little Richard among others, and mastered techniques from the stuttering ninth chords of James Brown sideman Jimmy Nolen to the epic string-bending of Albert King.

Hendrix’s solo career ignited when he was discovered at Greenwich Village’s Café Wha? by Animals’ bassist Chas Chandler, who became his manager and moved Hendrix to London. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was formed and the group’s debut LP Are You Experienced? (1967) became an international smash, fortified by Hendrix’s flamboyant performing style. Throughout Hendrix’s three brief years as an international pop star, his music became increasingly experimental, but even his incendiary version of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’, recorded live at Woodstock and full of feedback explosions, showed his unswerving devotion to blues tonality.

Styles & Forms | Sixties | Jazz & Blues
Personalities | Freddie Hubbard | Sixties | Jazz & Blues

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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