“First Rays of the New Rising Sun” – Jimi Hendrix (1997) [english]

After the unexpected death of Jimi Hendrix on September 18, 1970, the control of the discography, the tapes and his ideas were in the hands of the strange character who answered the name of Mike Jeffrey: an entrepreneur whose story is at least wrapped in a thick fog. Jeffrey handled Hendrix’s business as his manager in a manner, witnesses say, highly questionable both in terms of earnings and contracts with the record companies, so much so that much they hold him responsible or otherwise aware of the facts, that led to the death of the left-handed Seattle. Stories of the Mafia, money, drugs and secret services, that his tragic death in a plane crash in 1973, have only increased. Upon the manager’s death, the music rights and all the legacy went, on Warner’s behalf, to Alan Douglas, an American producer, who saw in this story the possibility of getting rich. A truly sinister and sad looting, which had nothing to do with the legacy of an artist who had forever changed the world of music and art. He released botched posthumous records, incomplete songs finished with artists who had never even met Hendrix, also ruining some tapes forever. A sacrilege that, without the intervention of the american musician’s family, would have been perpetrated for years, with impunity, ruining forever the image of Hendrix.  It would end up in oblivion, erased by songs produced in a horrible way that confirmed the delusional thesis of the media and journalists of the time, who wanted a Jimi in a decadent phase, depressed and without inspiration. Sacrilege number two. A hard and no-holds-barred legal battle finally led to the victory of the family in 1995, just after the good Douglas, together with musicians who with Hendrix’s music centered like the proverbial cabbages at snack, released the terrible Voodoo Soup. Inside there are many of the songs you find on this record, passed off as the record that Hendrix was about to finish before that fatal day. Something had to be done, and after founding the Hendrix LLC Experience, the family called producer Eddie Kramer, the console genius who had worked side by side with the guitar genius and who knew very well where Jimi’s latest ideas would lead, to make him take everything in hand : official discography, never released songs and production. The treasure was now in safe hands.  The title chosen, in addition to being one of the papabili for his fifth official album, is also very evocative about the music that you will find there and that is precisely the first rays of what was to be a new musical and artistic direction, that the feared and , alas, never materialized, collaboration with Miles Davis, would certainly have sealed. Only 4 years of artistic life and legacy was of huge scope. Probably the continuous desire for exploration would have led him to create things that no one can ever, unfortunately, even imagine: one of “if he had lived more…” heavier to remark for the history of music.  After choosing the title and the dreamy cover, Kramer picked up the unfinished tracks (only 4 were finished and they were already finished in other posthumous albums, which had to be released due to contractual obligations) and gave shape to the ladder wanted and thought by the genius of Seattle.  The album, moving away from this long preamble and listened only as Jimi Hendrix’s fifth album, is a masterpiece. A fantastic crossover between rock, blues and soul of Harlem, funk and joy of living and exploring: 17 tracks of pure hendrixian genius. Just think that this album, after the live release of Band of Gypsies, was the sequel to one of the most beautiful and influential ever, namely Electric Ladyland.  Of course some songs are not complete, maybe the direction would have changed, because as we know Hendrix recorded hours and hours of music with often opposite directions, invited artists from different extractions to participate in sessions that started in a club in Greenwich Village and then maybe put them on record. He played at home, in the studio, in the bathroom, in bed… wherever he was his guitar was with him and his ideas never stood still. We know that, but you can trust Eddie Kramer, who knew Hendrix more than anyone. Moreover, they are all wonderful pieces: they range from the wonderful funk that overwhelms us with the 3 initial songs Freedom, Izabella and Night Bird Flying, to the delicate and intense blues of Belly Button Window. There’s rock-funk and Ronettes‘ choirs in Earth Blues and I could go on listing them all, but just let this man’s magical fingers cradle you on this journey into his last musical thoughts. Imagine yourself sitting at the console of the Electric Lady Studios in New York, next to Eddie Kramer and let the wonderful notes of Jimi Hendrix show you the paradise, perhaps wrapped in a purple haze. A place where rock, blues, jazz, soul and funk are merged in a river of emotions.  Try listening to Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) and tell me that you are not tempted to travel through time and stop whatever happened that night on September 18, 1970, to give him more time, just a little more time, to dispel the haze of his ideas and guide us towards a new rising sun.

Good listening,

Trex Willer

(you can find original italian article at this link : https://www.trexroads.com/first-rays-of-the-new-rising-sun-jimi-hendrix-1997/ )


Pubblicato da Trex

Sono un blogger e scrittore appassionato di musica indipendente americana. Scrivo gialli polizieschi e ho inventato il personaggio del detective texano Cody Myers.

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