Saturday, May 11, 2013

Jam Sessions...

Alan Douglas gets a lot of flak for his handling of the Jimi Hendrix archives. Oft-criticized for going overdub-happy on posthumous releases Crash Landing (1975) and Midnight Lightning (1975), the recent "official" re-releases by the Experience Hendrix crew show how ahead of his time Douglas really was. One thing casual Hendrix fans don't understand is that a lot of Jimi's recorded material were simple down-and-dirty jams - full of mistakes, wandering solos, missed cues and unexpected nadir mixed in between all the genius. I can't imagine being presented with reels of this material (a la Douglas) and being expected to splice the stuff together into something coherent enough to stand up to Hendrix's legendary "true" studio LPs. I personally think the recently released Hendrix compilations, all claiming to be "original" and "digitally remastered" (ugh!) sound vastly inferior to the 70's records - really amateur in a lot of ways (of course purists will claim these are the way "Jimi would have wanted it", blah blah - in reality these were at best demos to Jimi and would probably have never seen the light of vinyl). Douglas wasn't interested in simply releasing raw rehearsals, sessions outtakes or jams as is - he was trying to piece together "real" songs and understandbly needed session musicians to glue those loose ends together. With all that being said, 1980 saw the release of Nine To The Universe. Culled from jam sessions at NYC studios the Record Plant and Hit Factory throughout 1969; musicians ranged from Mitch Mitchell to Band Of Gypsys' Buddy Miles and Billy Cox to organist Larry Young and guitarist Jim McCarty. Douglas pulled hours of material and edited them down to a cohesive 40-minute album showcasing some of Hendrix's jazziest jams - wonderful stuff. There are bootlegs floating around out there which contain the full uncut recordings but in my opinion these are bogged down by technical glitches (drop-outs, pops, mic switches, etc) as well as simply running on for too long - the jams tend to get a little boring. Douglas really did this material a favor and should be commended for it (compare "Easy Blues" on this release to the version on the recent People, Hell & Angels and you'll see what I mean). Ripped from original vinyl - enjoy.

8/2/14 update: I just ripped my personal copy of this unheralded masterpiece and it sounds a fuck of a lot better than the previous LP rip I scammed from some FLAC website. A lot warmer and heavier - the usually shittier cassette medium actually contributes to the sound on this one. Enjoy.

Currently watching: Classic Albums: Who's Next
Currently listening to: Coffins Sewage Sludgecore Treatment

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