08/17/13

Artist's Choice: Terje Rypdal on Hendrix

The innovative Norwegian guitarist picks his favorite Jimi rarities

Five years ago I began to collect everything I could find by Jimi Hendrix—bootlegs, studio outtakes and more. When we started Dream in the mid-’60s, we played at least half of Are You Experienced?, and for our only album, Get Dreamy, we wrote a tribute to Jimi called “Hey Jimi.” A girlfriend of mine told me that she was going to visit a friend in Sweden who happened to be one of Jimi’s numerous Swedish girlfriends. I asked my girlfriend to try to get that Swedish girl to give the recording of “Hey Jimi” to Hendrix.

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Jimi Hendrix
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Terje Rypdal at Jazzaldia 2010
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After that I didn’t know what happened to it until about eight years ago, when a collector bought Jimi’s London collection and found it there. As I never met Jimi or saw him live—he never played Norway—this felt like a greeting from beyond and is very important to me.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite Hendrix rarities. (And I’d like to thank the ECM offices in New York and London for helping me obtain a lot of Hendrix CDs that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible to get with a Viking address.)

In closing, the Hendrix Experience’s Winterland Ballroom recordings of October 1968 are to me some of the best examples of Jimi going further than his studio work in a concert setting.

“This Is America/The Star Spangled Banner”
3 Nights at Winterland
(second show; Oct. 10, 1968) (Reclamation, 2006)

After a lengthy introduction, Jimi uses his guitar as a spaceship before the others join. Labeled as “rock,” this is pure freebag.

“Are You Experienced?”
The Jimi Hendrix Concerts (Reprise, 1982)
(also recorded at Winterland; Oct. 10, 1968)

This is the best live version of this song and a good mix with echo added to the vocal.

“This Is America/The Star Spangled Banner”
3 Nights at Winterland
(first show; Oct. 10, 1968) (Reclamation, 2006)

Another freebag space-trip. This version is mostly a duet between Hendrix and drummer Mitch Mitchell.

“This Is America/The Star Spangled Banner”
3 Nights at Winterland
(second show; Oct. 12, 1968) (Reclamation, 2006)

Try to imagine Pharoah Sanders on this!

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