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Jimi Hendrix: Live at the Oakland Coliseum

If you’re looking for the roots of Miles’ plugged in excursions, there’s Jimi Hendrix Live at the Oakland Coliseum (Dagger DBRD2 11743, 48:45, 35:46). This is a two-disc document of a 1969 performance by the only man who could make Miles say “what in the f-is he doing?” The new Dagger label was created, in part, to sate the appetites of the hard-core Hendrix-phile. Those willing to accept bootleg-level sound quality-in this case, an often cavernous-sounding mono-for the pleasure of hearing Jimi tweak familiar material like “Hey Joe” (here with some extemporaneous lyrics and some exquisite rhythm guitar work), “Spanish Castle Magic” and “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return).” As rock’s premier improviser, Hendrix inspired the kind of version-to-version comparison similar to the one that boppers engage in about, say, Bird; this disc-particularly his playing on “Red House”-is sure to open up another round of discussions around the CD player.

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