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This documentary will give you the heart and soul of James M Hendrix, from
the people who loved him to the thoughts and performances of the man
himself. The performances are predominately taken from The Monterey Pop
Festival, widely regarded as the best set Jimi ever played. Unlike most
music biopics that seem to be afraid of the music they chronicle, this one
gives you nice long stretches of performance, never cutting off a solo to
give some little pearl of wisdom. Songs are played in their entirety.
The interviews are engaging and sometimes enlightening; such as The Who's Pete Townshend explaining how the appearance order at Monterey was decided, and Jimi's long-time girlfriend Fayne Pridgon retelling tales of Jimi turning her on to such new experiences as LSD and a strange little folk singer named Bob Dylan.
I HIGHLY recommend this movie to anyone who loved Hendrix for his amazing contributions to the halls of rock history. He truly was the impresario of his generation, and maybe all others, before and since. Turn the speakers way up, sit back, and ENJOY! You will not be disappointed.
Jimi Hendrix: Delux DVD Edition Movie: The documentary is very
interesting, and not just for guitar players like myself, I'm a big
acoustic guitar fan not electric at all. It concentrates solely on who
the man was and his amazing playing, it doesn't get distracted and
bogged down with stories of drugs, mismanagement and the circumstances
concerning his death. It really does give a sense of the person and the
passion behind Jimi Hendrix and his music.
The film comprises of a series of a series of performances, some very rare and some considered classic, interspersed with clips of interviews of Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend, Little Richard, Lou Reed, Mick Jagger, Hendrix himself and the all important ones, from his friends and family.
The interviews are very frank and relaxed, and when interviewing friends you get a sense of sitting chatting with someone rather than the usual interrogation that half hearted interviews can become. With the interviews with other famous stars of the time, and indeed other amazing guitarists like Clapton, there is a real feeling of respect and admiration. They don't hold back about how good or influential he was and there doesn't seem to be any back stabbing or slapping, just genuine conversation and respect.
These aspects are something you can't just make in a documentary, and they enrich the interviews so much making them thoroughly engaging and make for much better documentary.
One of the most interesting parts for me were the live performances, they are excellent to listen to and some are pretty amazing just to watch his performance. These are absolute classic performances and should be watched by any aspiring guitar player, I certainly had a huge desire to grab my guitar and start playing...just don't set it alight!
My favourite piece was Hendrix playing a beautiful twelve string, I love the acoustic guitar and strive to find as many recordings of unusual songs and artists playing their songs acoustically, and this is undoubtedly the pinnacle of that search. It's amazing to see him play, and particularly interesting to see how nervous he was when he makes a mistake (like I heard!) and asks if he can start again. When he steams into the second play you can see he wasn't just an electric virtuoso. His talent is unmistakable and these performances have been selected to really show off his best playing.
Picture: Presented: 1.85:1
The picture quality is very good with a lot of restored and remastered footage. Still some sections show their age and that's not taking into account the hairstyles and clothes! Overall though, it's excellent quality for remastered 1973 footage and some of the older and more worn performances.
The interviews are perhaps the highest picture quality, however here it's the words that matter more than anything, and in the performances it's the music.
Sound: Presented: English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Subtitles: English and French
I didn't quite understand this one, presenting the film in DD5.1 seemed a waste of channels without a proper remix to bring you into the performances, or let you feel you're sitting in the studio, park or stage that the interviewees were. It doesn't add anything to the experience over the DD2.0 track. The sound sticks firmly at the front, although at times it does spread wider, but just as much is achieved with the DD2.0.
Some of the older performance footage does sound old with cracks, clicks and hiss. Yet this achieved something else, like that feeling with vinyl, it just adds to the atmosphere and performance.
Extras Presented: From the Uklele to the Strat (63:00), The making of Dolly Dagger and Stone Free performance
From the Uklele to the Strat provides you with what appears to be the full interviews that were used to cut together to make the documentary. Although I did start to find this hard going, it really does provide a level of authenticity and would appeal to the hard bent Hendrix fan. The interviews are wide and extensive, and considering the purchase base for this I would think that there will be many Hendrix fans watching this.
The making of Dolly Dagger is a superb and very insightful feature into the recording process for any song, never mind one of Hendix's. Sitting with the Producer\Engineer from the recording, Eddie Kramer, we're treated to a break down of the track, how it was recorded, insights into the process, and even sections that never made it to the final cut. This was fascinating.
Finally there's a performance of Stone Free from the Atlanta Pop Festival in 1970 on July the 4th, apparently never seen before. This is a blistering watch, and much like the rest of his performances, amazing and very entertaining. Watching his guitar work just astounds me, and listening to how easily he produces the music fills you with envy. Roughly shot, but it again adds to the raw feel of the performance.
Overall: I think this is an excellent documentary for fans of Hendrix and of the guitar. It's an insightful film which doesn't get hung up on any of the contentious issues of the man's life, and instead tells us from his friends, co-workers and peers who he really was and how dedicated to his music he was.
However, if you're not a Hendrix or guitar fan, I think you might find this much harder going. I'd have preferred a more expansive DD5.1 track, or just sticking to the DD2.0, and some more intimate performances would have added to the overall attraction.
A good purchase for the performances, and in particular the acoustic performance, but add the interviews and the making of featurette, and you have a classic DVD for the fan.
Jimi Hendrix chronicles the story of the man, the myth, the legend, the
left-handed dude with a love of the blues and Bob Dylan, and who took
rock and roll almost to another planet (just listen to some of the
tracks off Electric Ladyland and see how he goes into music like the
equivalent of a crazy science fiction writer). He was also, as
described by Eric Clapton, "guillible", and susceptible to the leeches
that lay around him that, by way of the drugs, led to his very sudden
downfall. Had he lived there's no doubt he could have had an output
that for his genre would be the equivalent of one of those great 18th
century European composers or even 20th century Jazzmen. There's been
so much written about him that he's been elevated to the status he's at
today, so it's a welcome thing to see this documentary so soon after
Welcome, though also one can see the pain in some of the interviewees under the surface. Many on screen, his fellow ex-band-mates like Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell, and some of his own family and close friends, still have the memory of Jimi fresh in their minds, and so their recollections, both loving and even critical, comes at a time when there's still a lot to ponder. Through this and various concert clips (some well known like Woodstock and Monterey Pop clips, some more obscure like Band of Gypsies and Isle of Wight), and a superb interview conducted by Dick Cavett, portray Hendrix as a smart guy who could play a guitar like, as Townsend describes, "an instrument." In truth- and even for those who may just admire him as opposed to outright love and cherish his music- he was reaching into territory that was far surpassing anything done in the late 60s.
He had the basics down for the best in blues (maybe my favorite scene in the film, maybe exclusive just to this documentary, has him in a white room playing a 'Train' type of blues song that is so invigorating to see what he comes up with, begging the cameras to keep rolling). He also was a kind of wild man about his imagination, and so didn't hold back with an audience. He appealed to white and black, rock and blues, soul and (as might be the case years later) heavy metal, and without ever making himself into a commodity - that was done after he was dead and buried. What A Film About Jimi Hendrix portrays is a confident man, at peace with himself, but as is described by those around him someone who had such extraordinary things about him that his few flaws made his undoing. And it is a near perfect treat for die-hard fans.
Made several years after the death of Jimi Hendrix, this film looks
back at his career through the eyes of his family, peers, friends and
fans. Recollections and anecdotes are broken up by various live
performances and interviews with Hendrix himself.
I have never taken the time to find out whether I am a fan of Hendrix or not; sure I like everything I have heard but that is different from being a fan. However watching this film made me more interested in hearing more from him because of how well put together it is. Ignoring the subject for a minute, the strength of the film is in the structure and delivery. The film is not trying to factually capture Hendrix from cradle to grave but rather look at him as an entertainer and a man. To do this we get live footage of him mixed with plenty of contributions from others who knew him. To make the point that these contributions are good, the edit overlaps several people telling the same stories and I liked the way this worked.
The film also manages to keep focused while also allowing the contributors to speak personally and from their own experiences of him not in glib sound bites but mostly in natural chatting and recollections. These are worked well to produce a narrative flow, building on what we know about the man and his music. Structure wise it is an impressive biography and you could nearly watch the film for this alone. Of course the film itself is not about the way it is put together but rather about the title character. Here the film is also strong as we see him on stage and instantly get what it was that people like/liked about him. He has a great stage presence and is recognisable as being a creative force. However the use of interviews etc also shows him to be quite a quiet and shy type and I liked this aspect of his character and the way the way the film brought it out.
For fans then, it is a given that you will enjoy this but it will also work for the casual viewer with a passing interest in his music; this is what I was and the film drew me into the man more than I had been. I think it is unlikely anyone would watch it for structure alone, but I must comment that it is this that is another reason why the film works as well as it does.
A wonderful rockumentary about the king of all the guitar gods. It has
a good selection of interviews with Jimi's friends and musical
contemporaries, but the filmmakers knew what they were doing: they
spend most of the time just letting the man play. And that's all you
need for a great film.
We get to see all the iconic psychedelic performances, including the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock (which is about ten times better than I remembered it), and we also get a very nice chronology of how his music evolved over time with his original Experience band and then the Band of Gypsies. But the true gem is something I never saw coming: Jimi playing traditional blues on an acoustic guitar. He starts off slowly and deliberately, and you get the sense that he's exploring something new or returning to something very old. Then he asks the cameraman to stop, and when he starts again he just relaxes into it. What he plays is 100% traditional blues, but he makes it totally his in a way that is utterly mind-blowing. After that, the remaining performances are him taking the blues electric but to places that Led Zeppelin could only dream about. But I think the director knew that "Hear my Train A'coming" was the zenith of the film, because we get to hear it again over the closing credits. Ten stars.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The channel surfing gods must have been watching over me last night, as
I came across this documentary on VH1 Classics under their 'RockDocs'
format. As I tuned in, Hendrix was into his amazing "Wild Thing"
version from 1967's Monterey Pop Festival and it had me hooked for the
entire run. Jimi Hendrix was always a favorite of mine back in the
Sixties, and when he died in 1970, I became fixated on his 'Electric
Ladyland' album, seeming to find comfort in the ethereal strains of
'Moon, Turn The Tides...Gently, Gently', as if he were floating away to
a far off better place.
Besides the awesome live footage, the blast in watching this biopic has to be seeing rock gods speaking in reverenced tones of the guitar master. Were Mick Jagger, Lou Reed, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton and Little Richard ever really that young? It was revealing to hear Townshend describe how he and Clapton talked about Hendrix and his music, and how they 'decided' that they liked him - as if it had to be a conscious choice. Other revealing insights came from some of the women in Hendrix' life who I didn't know about at the time, like Fayne Pridgon and Pat Hartley. Even feminist Germaine Greer got into the act, with observations on how his music impacted male audiences of the era.
An interesting element that worked for the documentary was interspersing scenes of live music and interviews with televised segments from a Dick Cavett TV appearance, where Hendrix' low key manner seemed to belie his vulnerability. I never realized how insecure he felt about himself, and how malleable he was to the pressures of agents and hangers on, eventually leading to his tragic end. One of the Allen Brothers had an interesting twist on Hendrix' passing, stating that the singer might have been experiencing an alpha state in which he consciously decided to experience death, resulting in an 'alpha jerk'.
A curious aside to the Dick Cavett appearance - sitting next to Hendrix on the guest couch was Robert Young. I wonder if Hendrix ever watched "Father Knows Best"?
Above all though, it's the man and the music that make this rockumentary special. My personal favorites - "Wild Thing" and the amazing Dylan tribute "Like a Rolling Stone". Of course the Woodstock "Star Spangled Banner" version is on display in it's entirety, as are all of the song performances presented, making this picture a unique tribute to the rock legend. Had he lived, Hendrix would be sixty years old today, and oh, what music might have been.
Jimi Hendrix (1973)
*** (out of 4)
This documentary was made and released three years after the death of Jimi Hendrix and it really shows what a masterful talent he was. When viewing this today people might not get its full impact because it features clips from various concerts that have since been released complete and on their own. With that said, it's important to remember that for a time this here was the only way to see much of this footage. Eric Clapton, Paul Caruso, Billy Cox, Pete Townsend, Mick Jagger, Little Richard and Lou Reed are just some of the people who talk about who Hendrix was and what he was able to do with his guitar. Through the interviews you really get a great sense of what other artists thought of his talent and it's interesting hearing them talk so shortly after his death. Many of the stories are very entertaining and especially the reactions from them in regards to the first time they saw Hendrix and his talent. We also get an interview with Hendrix's own father who discusses his sons early days and how he got to playing guitar to begin with. Overall this is a very entertaining documentary that tells you some good stories about the legend but the majority of the running time come from various concert and television performances. No matter how many times you watch him perform you really can't believe that he was actually human and pulling off all of this music. Fans of Hendrix will probably own many of these shows in a complete form but this documentary is still very good for those unfamiliar with the work of Hendrix or those who just want to kick back and enjoy the music.
Watched this docu again last night on DVD. Saw it some 30+ years ago on film. I was class of '69 (Jimi's cousin, Nona Hendrix, was in my grade 12 class) and remember when Jimi and his band came through my town(East Van rules). Jimi was from Seattle, some 145 miles south) I always rue the day I DIDN't go to the concert. I went to all the biggies EXCEPT this one, and I have never forgiven myself. WHY? I worked that night. I had every vinyl, worn the grooves off Electric Ladyland twice. The 60's re visited...This '73 docu captures the mood VERy well. Comments from impossibly young Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton (who I saw perform last week in NZ..even BETTER than he was in '69 the last time I saw him)... Jimmy Page, Eric, and JIMI were our holy trinity of guitar gods way back when...this was a T R I P down memory lane for me...the talk of drugs and race issues....subjects which never go away..we're still dealing with it today...but back to the music.....Jimi's fusion of blues/rock/jazz....wondrous to us so long ago, and still sounding 'fresh as a daisy' to this alumnus of the class of '69 see this DVD.... I give it an 8.8
The Strength of this Documentary is that it was Made Only a Few Years
After Jimi Passed On. But of course, the Filmed Performances, Mostly
Shown in Near Entirety, are a Goldmine for Newbies and a Welcome
Flashback for Die-Hard Fans.
Many Headliners and Friends are Interviewed and Offer then Recent Recollections of Their Initial Introduction to Hendrix's Guitar Playing and Style and the Word is "Blew my mind."
Nothing Like it Before, and as Pete Townsend of "The Who" says..."Jimi made the guitar an instrument". Seems Simplistic and Obvious but Before Hendrix the Guitar was Mostly an Ensemble Part with an Occasional "Lead" Spotlight.
But, Jimi Hendrix Made it THE Spotlight, THE Instrument, THE Focus, Taking it to Unexplored Heights and Boldly Went Where No Guitarist had Gone Before. This is a Near Perfect Introduction and Reflection to a Humble, Insecure, Musical Genius, that was and is a Sign Post to that "Twilight Zone" Counter Culture Explosion of the Late Sixties.
A Must Have Visual and Audio Timecapsule for Anyone Interested in Rock, Heavy Metal, Pop, Blues, Soul, and Psychedelic Music (Acid Rock). An Incredibly Insightful and Delightful Look at a Time and Place, and a Musician and Man, that will Never be Forgotten.
... a nice sentiment about Hendrix.
Jimi closes his eyes with raised eyebrows that arch with heaven and steeples. His left arm reaching for breath and guidance from the angel; a purpled wing. My eyes now close with the aromas of someplace, of exploration and eruptions. From sleepy dreams and wisps of smoke that curl my hands, Purple Haze finds its way back. A piece of life in my corner of memories and favorites; my mantra of home to my heart.
By the time of his Band of Gypsys, the sound that exhaled my Star Spangled Banner disappeared. Anthem maker and Bold as Love warrior, Jimi slipped under. He died September 18, 1970 from massive amounts of wine, vomit and suspicion. James Marshall Hendrix lay in London deceased and I accepted another, just like the ones before and the ones in line... and so on.
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