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Jimi Hendrix

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(1942 – 1970)

James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; 27th November at Seattle’s King County Hospital, 1942 - 18th September 1970) was a U.S. guitarist, singer, and songwriter.

Hendrix was not very popular in the U.S.A. at the outset of his musical career, only later gaining recognition after taking a trip to England in 1966 with The Animals’ Chas Chandler, where he subsequently formed The Jimi Hendrix Experience with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell. While The Experience quickly became popular in England, they remained relatively unrecognised outside the country. It was not until their 1967 performance at the Monterey International Pop Festival in the States that The Experience became, quite literally overnight, one of the most popular bands of the era.

Hendrix was mostly self-taught on the guitar. He was ambidextrous but chose to play the guitar upside-down and re-strung for playing left-handed, which suggests that he was more comfortable left-handed. As a guitarist, he built upon the innovations of blues stylists such as B.B. King, Albert King, Buddy Guy, T-Bone Walker, and Muddy Waters, as well as those of rhythm and blues and soul music guitarists such as Curtis Mayfield. Hendrix’s music was also influenced by jazz; he often cited Rahsaan Roland Kirk as his favourite musician. In addition, Hendrix extended the tradition of rock guitar; although previous guitarists, such as The KinksDave Davies, Jeff Beck, and The Who’s Pete Townshend, had employed techniques such as feedback, distortion and other effects as sonic tools, Hendrix was able to exploit them to a previously undreamed-of extent, and made them an integral part of his own private, unique genre, which he called “Red”.

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