Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mitch Mitchell



I found out earlier today that Mitch Mitchell, the drummer of the Jimi Hendrix Experience died yesterday in Portland, Oregon at the age of 61 of heart failure.
He was touring at the time with a Hendrix "Experience" band. Mitchell was the last surviving member of the original band. Hendrix died in 1970 and Noel redding, the bass player, died in 2003.
I posted this clip of Mitchell playing a solo at the close of a live 1969 performance in Stockholm, Sweden of Voodoo Child. The solo he plays gives a pretty good example of what Mitchell such a remarkable drummer. He was more of real jazz player than rock. He played around the beats and there was always a light agility and the ability to "converse" with the other instruments. There could not have been a more perfect player for Hendrix...His creativity was the perfect rythymic propulsion, he pushed the music and played with it in a fluid way that gave Hendrix the freedom to push himself further.
I will always remember the quote from the great Jazz/Rock/Fusion guitarist Larry Coryell, who said of the Experience, "It took a black cat to make two white guys play their asses off!"
What ever the actual chemistry was, the Jimi Hendix Experience was a band like no other. The other Super Trios of the time like Cream or Led Zepplin were creative alright. Cream played Rock like it was jazz, Led Zepplin made incredibly huge rock, that was slickly packaged...they all revolved around musical ability, imagination and ground breaking technique, but The Experience was just that and more...they were imagination beyond....
Tomorrow, I will try to get back to the present.

14 comments:

Tim said...

I couldn't agree more

John said...

Yeah Microdot LOL Really cool im 49
and I get it
The Experience were the best.

www.myinfoviews.com

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

Yes, the present the present! smile.

darkblack said...

Larry Coryell? I thought Miles Davis said that.

;>)

I liked Mitch's approach to keeping Rock time with an Elvin Jones sensibility. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for Noel's frustrated-guitar-player-forced-to-play-the-bloody-basswork... however,that level of instrumental aggression did its part to catapult the Experience forward.
English rhythm sections were certainly fond of their clangy clatter.

microdot said...

Perhaps it was Larry Coryell quoting Miles...
I remember reading an interview with Noel Redding in guitar player magazine in the 1970's in which he talked about auditioning for the Experience and his shock to find out he wasn't being considered for guitar!
To me, the only drummr who had the same kind of propulsive energy at the time in rock was Keith Moon...but he was part of an entirely different set up. There was no room for chance with Townshend...

microdot said...

greetings, Madme NON? now that's a little awkward! I really enjoyed your blog, there is a big variety of people posting on it!
Are you in the Aquitane? The Dordogne? I am near Hautefort, almost on the line with the Correze.
Really, you need a GPS to find me.

steve said...

I don't think the "experience" would have been the same without Mitchel's high sticking jazzy style.

microdot said...

Steve, thanks for posting...I am so depressed from reading you know whos' comments you know where...
I cannot bear to read too much of her comments with out becoming terminally depresssed about America.

Anonymous said...

From Engineer of Knowledge
Hello Microdot,
Yes, I too was a big Experience fan. The first rock group I was in tried to play all of the songs from that first album in 1967. Back then we thought we were indestructible. This is just another passing that reminds us that we are getting older and how we will just have to savor our memories before they will fade away with our generation’s passing.

microdot said...

Mr. Engineer, in the late 1970's and early 80's one of my best friends was a drummer named Tim. I played with him for a few years in the group in which I met my wife. He was the best drummer I have ever played with. I was primaraly a bass player at the time and playing with Tim made me practice 8 hours a day, until my hands were on fire....
I had to see a chiropracter, really!
Tim played like Mitch Mitchell, I was a white boy who wanted to play bass, but Tim made me play to the utmost of my ambition. He would introduce me to funk bass players who did things that made me cringe in shame, yet he kept encouraging me....
I took to practicing the Popeye cartoon music...the speedy little theme from the 1930's and 40's Popeye cartoons using my thumb and popping technique and one day I played it with Tim during a practice and he freaked! We started doing it as a joke during sets as a bass and drum duet live on stage.....
I run into him from time to time and wonder why he didn't make it bigger as a musician. He was the best drummer I have ever payed with.
But when I met him, he was already married with a daughter and working hard as a graphic artist to support his family and was a black man living in the ghetto of the lower East Side of NYC.....
I try to keep in touch with him, but seeing an extremely talented, likable hardworking man like him beaten down by the system he was trying to exist in really has hit home to me how hard it is to be black in America....
He didn't have the support systems of Condoleeza Rice or the advantages of Barack Obama or the family of Colin Powell...all he had was his good natured hard working self....
He is still keeping on and being positive inspite of everything and enjoying a bit of prosperity...
He is still one of the most honorable men I have ever met.

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

monsieur micro, je ne pense pas je veux un GPS - je suis tres bien avec les routes (hmmm...mauvais francais est plus bien que non francais...)

madame non is a perfect moniker for me. you'd have to know me to understand. hautefort is not so, so far from me... being in brantome. i venture down your way upon occasion. i went to see sans severino down that way (montignac) not so very long ago ... parce que nous recontrons un jour ... ?

microdot said...

Okay, madame non....
I love Brantome. You have a great dolmen in the vicinity. The bell tower of the abbey is the oldest cloche tower in France.
Do you live in the town it self?

Sanseverino? He's kind of gypsy swing attitude? I've heard some of his stuff...

microdot said...

after a week went by, I went back and reread this post and watched the video. I have to stop and say that the Jimi Hendrix Experience was a totally unique consummate musical experience that will never be repeated again. Mitchell was such a wonderful magnificent creative drummer with a touch as light as a feather or as heavy as a tsunami.
Hendrix was a force as big as Stravinsky, but never lost the lightness of Mozart...and it was all from innate brilliance, an ability to absorb the entirety of musical tradition, and let it spontaneoulsy erupt in the fragile relationship between the cortex, nerve synapses and calloused, joyous fingers on steel guitar strings.

microdot said...

Okay, okay, sex rears its ugly head...