Offstage he was withdrawn, almost shy. Onstage he strapped on his kiss-the-sky Stratocaster and shattered all notions of how a guitar could be played. In this tribute authorized by his estate, jimi hendrix comes to vivid life in funny and touching recollections by family, friends and other legends of rock like Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Peter Townsend and Little Richard. Best of all are electrifying performances from the Monterey, Woodstock and the Isle of Wright Festivals, London's Marquee Club and the Fillmore East. From a blazing Purple Haze to a driving Machine Gun to a flamboyant Wild Thing to a soulful Hear My Train A'Comin, Jimi Hendrix pulls out all the stops.
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If any artist deserved a hagiography it was Jimi Hendrix, and Joe Boyd's 1973 "authorized" tribute adequately sanctifies the legend. Perversely for a documentary, it achieves this simply through well-chosen concert footage rather than through the insights of the various talking heads. Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Lou Reed, and Germaine Greer are all wheeled out to wax lyrical about their days with Jimi, but nothing is more eloquent than watching and listening to him play. From "Hey Joe" in grainy black and white on the Ready Steady Go TV show, classic footage of Monterey, Woodstock (yes, "The Star-Spangled Banner"), and the Isle of Wight festivals to an acoustic 12- string rendition of "Hear My Train a' Comin'," Hendrix the musician speaks for himself.
But if Hendrix the musician shines through, this is not the most insightful profile of Hendrix the man. The circumstances surrounding his death, for example, are hardly touched upon (girlfriend at the time Monika Dannemann gets only a few seconds of screen time). Interview footage with Hendrix himself plus some occasionally rambling and incoherent comments from such intimates as his father, army buddies, ex-girlfriends (including Linda Keith, who "discovered" him in New York and brought him to England), and fellow musicians all take second place to the music itself. The most sensible quote comes from Little Richard, who proves once and for all that he's utterly bonkers when he says of Jimi's music: "At times he made my big toes shoot up into my boot." --Mark Walker, Amazon.co.uk
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