Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Rock Revival's Time Capsule (1970): Jimi Hendrix Meets Miles Davis to Discuss His Future in Jazz

Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix met early in 1970, just before Jimi’ s death, in what could have been one of the greatest and most fascinating collaborations in rock. Miles understood Jimi’s Jazz leanings:

‘He liked the way Coltrane played with all those other sheets of sound and he played the guitar in a similar way. Plus he said he had heard the guitar voicing that I used in the way I played trumpet’

Miles on the other hand fully understood Jimi’s psychedelic rock, mastering and extending the genre on his seminal live album ‘Bitches Brew’, the album that pretty much invented the jazz fusion of Mahivishnu Orchestra and others and set jazz greats Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett on their way.

Both seriously contemplated a collaboration with the greatest jazz arranges of all time, Gil Evans.

His white fans would have been shocked, however, they still screamed for Purple Haze and expected him to set fire to his guitar, long after Jimi himself had outgrown these inclinations.

Craig Werner (2002), in his groundbreaking book, A Change is Gonna Come: Music, Race and the Soul of America believes that this was one of the pressures that contributed to Jimi’s despair and eventual death.

Jimi:’ The main thing that used to bug me is that people wanted to many visual things from me. When I didn’t do it people thought I was being moody, but I can only freak out when I really feel like doing so. Now I just want the music to get across, so that people can just sit back and close their eyes and know exactly what is going on without giving a damn about what is going on on stage”

Well, we never got to hear Jimi, orchestrated and with Miles, breaking ground into the 70’s. Perhaps it would have changed the history of rock as we know it, perhaps not, but one thing is for sure; We all miss Jimi !

Image: Courtesy Columbia

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