It doesn't take a dozen exceptional guitarists to extol the virtues of Jimi Hendrix. But having that many certainly makes for a great show, as was the case Sunday at the Orpheum with the "Experience Hendrix" concert.
Steve Vai, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Vernon Reid, Ernie Isley, Eric Johnson, Susan Tedeschi, Brad Whitford, Johnny Lang, Mato Nanji, and a triple dose of pedal steel players — Robert Randolph, Darick Campbell, and Chuck Campbell — produced a fiery three-hour show that explored all facets of Hendrix's brief and brilliant career.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd will live many a guitarist's dream next Wednesday, November 10, when he appears on NBC's "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon." Playing live on TV may be nothing new for KWS, but this time will be special because he gets to play the famed Jimi Hendrix "Woodstock Strat."
Hendrix played the Strat at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, including on his famous rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner." Hendrix purchased the guitar in '68 and played it at many concerts including the Newport Pop Festival and his final concert at the Isle of Fehmarn in September, 1970. The guitar was acquired by Experience Music Project (EMP) in 1992 and has been in the Seattle-based museum's permanent collection since that time. EMP has consented to bring the guitar to New York, accompanied by two curators, in support of Experience Hendrix's continuing efforts to bring the music of Jimi Hendrix to successive generations.
It's hard to imagine, from today's vantage point, what popular music might sound like had there never been a Jimi Hendrix. The entire paradigm of blues-based rock soloing as we now understand it would not exist. Hendrix was not some mere blues-rock fusion artist hell-bent on showing off his chops, of course. He was a supremely gifted composer and songwriter, a man able to imbue the psychedelic music of the '60s with a seriously deep African-American strain, and journeyman R&B guitarist, all rolled into one.