Thursday, November 13, 2008
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.