There are guitar players, and then there are guitar players, and above all those in the pantheon of ax-wielding legends is one, Jimi Hendrix, whose too-brief career pro- duced hit after hit, classic after classic. Consistently ranked among the best musical artists of all time, and an icon of the LSD-friendly Woodstock era, Jimi died in 1970 at the age of 27. A quarter-century later, his family sponsored the first Jimi Hendrix tribute concert at a Seattle festival, which eventually evolved into the all-star tribute act that performs under the banner Experience Hendrix. And by all stars, I mean all stars: Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Billy Cox, Zakk Wylde, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and more — each a guitarist par excellence in his own right. The show offers the oppor- tunity to hear not just these legends’ versions of Hendrix tunes, but also songs from artists (like Guy) who influenced him.
Popular music being a fickle mistress, you can count on two hands the musicians whose legacies will survive and thrive for decades or centuries after their deaths, whose songs have both defined their time and achieved timelessness — Elvis, Lennon, Sinatra, Michael and, yes, Jimi. And few tributes to these artists do justice to their hero quite as well as Experience Hendrix. Don’t believe me? Hit up YouTube for their rendition of “Foxy Lady,” which conjures the spirit of Jimi about as well as anything I’ve ever heard.