(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
The electric guitar has always been an instrument of sheer beauty, from the early 20th century geniuses Djano Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, Les Paul, Chet Atkins, Chuck Berry, Hank Marvin, Duane Eddy to name a few, all set the fixation to mastering the 6 string element and the sonic possibilities of the instrument. In comes the decade of the Sixties, rock music was progressing from it's 50's brethren, where songs were expanding from the norm three chord fixation to the advent of the "power chord" and the "extended solo" was becoming more evident as the decade wore on. Young British guitarists began experimenting with the American Blues of the earlier part of the 20th Century, which were ignored by the American commercial music lover. The seeds of that generation would be sowed in a crop of great British guitarists, but most notably in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and The highly influential Yardbirds.
While The Bluesbreakers was a musical revolving door, The Yardbirds was the explosion for three of Britain's greatest electric guitarists, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. All three guitarists arguably are three of the greatest innovators of that era, but all of three of those geniuses paled in comparison to the extrovert neophyte from Seattle, Washington. Long known as a show stealer in prior gigs, James Marshall Hendrix or Jimi as would later be known, was a wild exotic amalgam of Blues man, showman and guitar god, or one of the finest examples of a "rocker".
Along with Jimi's love for the Blues, Jimi also worshipped the song writings of a seminal figure on rock music, Bob Dylan, and on Jimi's debut, Are You Experienced?, Jimi would create on of the finest examples of psychedelia ever created during the entire decade of the Sixties. This was rock music's progression to it best, which still caught in it's caught in short song formation, but the advancement in technology helped open doors to the highly experimental mind of Jimi as a songwriter, and his outer world guitar pyrotechnics.
Jimi's music would not be complete without the mention of the other two musicians in his band, bass player Noel Redding and one the greatest drummers of the Sixties in Mitch Miller, whose complex, polyrhythmic drumming helped further define the role of the drums in Rock as well. Clicking on all cylinders, The Jimi Hendrix Experience was amongst a few "Power Trio" in Rock at the time, along with Cream both units were extremely volatile, but yet creative.
Are You Experienced? song listing, is amongst some of the most amazing songs, many have become staples within the Rock repertoire even onto the 21st century. Jimi did not all in out ignore his "Blues" background as some of his most powerful blues workout were featured here, But the more famous songs overpower every other "lesser" songs. Songs like "Purple Haze", "Manic Depression", Hey Joe" "the Wind Cries Mary", "Foxy Lady", "Stone Free", "Red House", "Fire", "Third Stone From The Sun" and "May This Be Love" could easily be the making of a greatest hits collection, and those songs are only from this monolithical debut!
It may be argued that there were greater guitarists during Jimi's era, or some just as imaginative, but none made an album as influential and as powerful as Jimi and his Experience had done on Are You Experienced?