February 07, 2013

Keith Shadwick: Jimi Hendrix: Musician

It's not a problem to fill a couple of shelves with books about Jimi Hendrix. It is problem the ones worth buying. UK music journalist Keith Shadwick published his essential Jimi Hendrix: Musician in 2003 and it has been out-of-print for quite some time. A newly revised and updated edition fills the gap.

Shadwick isn't as interested in the drugs and other distractions that are a major part of lots of another biographies. He follows Hendrix from his humble beginnings, forming a struggling band in the army before becoming a sideman on the chitlin circuit and guitarist for hire, his trip to the UK and via his appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival reaching the peak of his musical prowess before getting holed up in the studio recording endless jams and tons of promising songs who were rarely deemed worthy to become a master (or even finished).

He has studied Hendrix (un)officially released output in great detail and writes harsh words about the low quality of many of the posthumous releases. The author died in 2008 and never heard the Winterland and West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology box sets. This edition of his study mentions the inclusion of many of the tracks that Chadwick deemed release worthy.

As a music journalist Shadwick knows how to tell a story, but for Hendrix scholars his dissection of Hendrix technique is the icing on the cake. He acts lik a fly-on-the-wall in the recording studio and he is busy taking notes in the wings during live shows. This is a book urging you to listen to the music. Because that was what Hendrix was. A musician.

Jimi Hendrix: Musician is published by Backbeat Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard. 352 pages. Paperback.

» jimihendrix.com

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