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The Jimi Hendrix Experience

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London, United Kingdom (1966 – 1970)

The Jimi Hendrix Experience was a short-lived, yet highly influential rock band famous for the guitar work of Jimi Hendrix (1942– 1970) on songs such as Purple Haze, Foxy Lady, Hey Joe, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) and All Along the Watchtower. Rounding out the Experience were Noel Redding (1945–2003) and Mitch Mitchell (1947–2008) on bass and drums respectively.

Hendrix arrived in England in October 1966, and auditions were launched to find him a backing band. Noel Redding was chosen for the bass spot. Even though he had never played bass before auditioning (he was a guitarist), Hendrix liked his look and attitude. Mitch Mitchell was a seasoned London drummer who brought jazz chops and a lead style of playing to the table. He would prove to be Hendrix’s most valuable musical partner.

Though initially conceived as Hendrix’s backing band, The Experience soon became much more than that. Along with Cream, they were the first group to popularize the “power trio” format, which essentially strips a rock band lineup down to the essentials: bass, guitar and drums. This smaller format also encourages more extrovert playing from the players involved, often at very high volumes. In the case of The Experience, Hendrix mixed lead and rhythm guitar duties into one, while also making use of then-revolutionary guitar effects such as feedback and wah-wah.

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