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Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by Steve Holt, Mar 4, 2017.
Excellent post. Well worth a bump. Understanding the context is the goods
I can see that. Jimi was big in his time, but may not translate to new generations. It's really just matter of taste. I know quite a few people who hate the Beatles *Gasp*.
I think that's a large part of it. The production process by which rock and pop music is released today is far tighter than it was back in the 60s - click tracks, autotune, the ability to far more easily punch in takes or snippets of takes into the track for example. To the ears of kids brought up on today's music much of the recordings from that era can sound messy compared to what they've been listening to.
However there's more to it than just the technology in my opinion. In the late 60s rock music started to have a looser feel, no doubt partly due to other aspects of the time, and Hendrix was just one of many who played in an unstructured way. With Jimi though I have always thought there was a serious quality control issue. I remember years ago a friend would play me all these dodgy posthumous albums telling me how good they were, but it constantly struck me that for every great song we had to listen to several more rough tracks. To me the legacy is somewhat sullied by the number of recordings that should never have been released.
I find this a great shame as I've always held the opinion that Hendrix invented modern rock guitar playing.
The Experience's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame biography states: "Jimi Hendrix was arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music. Hendrix expanded the range and vocabulary of the electric guitar into areas no musician had ever ventured before. His boundless drive, technical ability and creative application of such effects as wah-wah and distortion forever transformed the sound of rock and roll." Musicologist Andy Aledort described Hendrix as "one of the most creative" and "influential musicians that has ever lived". Music journalist Chuck Philips wrote: "In a field almost exclusively populated by white musicians, Hendrix has served as a role model for a cadre of young black rockers. His achievement was to reclaim title to a musical form pioneered by black innovators like Little Richard and Chuck Berry in the 1950s."
Hendrix favored over-driven amplifiers with high volume and gain. He was instrumental in developing the previously undesirable technique of guitar amplifier feedback, and helped to popularize use of the wah-wah pedal in mainstream rock. He rejected the standard barre chord fretting technique used by most guitarists in favor of fretting the low 6th string root notes with his thumb. He applied this technique during the beginning bars of "Little Wing", which allowed him to sustain the root note of chords while also playing melody. This method has been described as piano style, with the thumb playing what a pianist's left hand would play and the other fingers playing melody as a right hand. Having spent several years fronting a trio, he developed an ability to play rhythm chords and lead lines together, giving the audio impression that more than one guitarist was performing. He was the first artist to incorporate stereophonic phasing effects in rock music recordings. Holly George-Warren of Rolling Stone commented: "Hendrix pioneered the use of the instrument as an electronic sound source. Players before him had experimented with feedback and distortion, but Hendrix turned those effects and others into a controlled, fluid vocabulary every bit as personal as the blues with which he began. Aledort wrote: "In rock guitar, there are but two eras — before Hendrix and after Hendrix."
While creating his unique musical voice and guitar style, Hendrix synthesized diverse genres, including blues, R&B, soul, British rock, American folk music, 1950s rock and roll, and jazz. Musicologist David Moskowitz emphasized the importance of blues music in Hendrix's playing style, and according to authors Steven Roby and Brad Schreiber, "[He] explored the outer reaches of psychedelic rock". His influence is evident in a variety of popular music formats, and he has contributed significantly to the development of hard rock, heavy metal, funk, post-punk, and hip hop music. His lasting influence on modern guitar players is difficult to overstate; his techniques and delivery have been abundantly imitated by others. Despite his hectic touring schedule and notorious perfectionism, he was a prolific recording artist who left behind numerous unreleased recordings. More than 40 years after his death, Hendrix remains as popular as ever, with annual album sales exceeding that of any year during his lifetime.
Hendrix has influenced numerous funk and funk rock artists, including Prince, George Clinton, John Frusciante, formerly of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eddie Hazel of Funkadelic, and Ernie Isley of the Isley Brothers. Hendrix's influence also extends to many hip hop artists, including De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Digital Underground, Beastie Boys, and Run–D.M.C. Miles Davis was deeply impressed by Hendrix, and he compared Hendrix's improvisational abilities with those of saxophonist John Coltrane. Hendrix also influenced industrial artist Marilyn Manson, blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan, Metallica's Kirk Hammett, instrumental rock guitarist Joe Satriani, Frank Zappa/David Bowie/Talking Heads/King Crimson/Nine Inch Nails hired gun Adrian Belew, and heavy metal virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen, who said: "[Hendrix] created modern electric playing, without question ... He was the first. He started it all. The rest is history."
"He changed everything. What don't we owe Jimi Hendrix? For his monumental rebooting of guitar culture "standards of tone", technique, gear, signal processing, rhythm playing, soloing, stage presence, chord voicings, charisma, fashion, and composition? ... He is guitar hero number one."
—Guitar Player magazine, May 2012
The thing I love best about this piece is that the writer states that 40 years after he's dead he is selling more album each year than he ever did in any year that he was with us.