The voice is by no means great, but new musical concepts are being worked out....
Take Hey Joe. This is one that I am proud of, because it has several advanced concepts at work. First, it is a suggestion based on a Usual Suspects variety of randomness. In this case, Jing's head & sandals shop Making Waves has an Isle of Wight concert picture of Jimi* up in a glass case. A little artistic statement by Jing the Master (DVD incidentally for sale) that I happen to notice (24:30) during this hourlong jam session. Hey Joe... ok... normally I would be little disappointed by Raffa's choice, I got bored by Jimi's version a long time ago.
But a couple weeks ago in Quezon City I went on a little Patti Smith kick and got inspired by her nails tough, punk poetry version. So I thought why not convey the ethereality of the ballad through flute-voice on the chorus, while making the words Patti Smith spontaneous, reflecting the kind of ur-urgency of the original?**
Naturally this is not all conscious. But this underlines a key point. Through the process of creating the song I am super aware, on many levels, of what is going on in my head. I can go back and think of what resonance the sound has emotionally with other places I have been. It is almost a mnemonic way of remembering place, action, state-of-of mind.
There is another level, centered on the distinct urban life experiences of Patti Smith . Her version of Hey Joe, which would not have been possible without the Hendrix evolution, takes me directly back to San Fran of the mid-1970s "I shot my old lady, I shot myself in the foot again" is the exact moment where Patti's version occurs to me. Deeper than that, there was a whole three months of my life, at age 16, when the Hendrix version of the song*** meant everything.
After the Patti-inspired verse, Raffa gets into this kind of bittersweet progression on the guitar that reminds me of jamming with Jefferson at the Lokal in Boracay a couple months ago. A little bittersweet runon harmonic that I first consciously discovered with Found A Good Job (8:20) on New Year's. Missing people, missing my own sense of balance.****
The song is semi-ruined (no offense to Jing, who put down some amazing tribal beats earlier) when the tambourine comes in, transforming exploration into sing-along (arguably, the unpremeditated cries of rock n' roll as I go all Hendrix on their ass are worth the price of admission).
That is about it that I can think of about Hey Joe at the moment. The point is that this is one song among many, each of which has original elements (or I would not have put them out there). There has never been a version of Could You Be Loved quite like the one Raffa sketches out, Lady Gaga style. The jam with Jing and mountain bottle chime at the outset is probably the first in which I am happy with the true tribal ambience created. Speaking of evolution, that same Santana shaker bamboo stick beat, coupled with blow-dart flute attack, is a combo I incorporate into the tribal circle jam at Malasimbo I am now stitching together. Deep tribal. There is another little thing I stumble upon in Jammin' that is like that Afro-Samba instrument Miles incorporates in Little Blue Frog. I cannot yet recreate that sound.
Okay, where is Arisugawa Park? Just building the suspense among beta readers. Analytics say that 4 out of 5 anxious readers seem to be finding their way to the blog. Wait a day or so... seeing if I can cook up a little sketch related to the preface. A series of drawings throughout?
#endurancewriter SEO Alert - Damon Shulenberger, aka Endurance the Writer.
*One of my least favorite Jimi concerts. Not because it vulturistically reveals a guy whose life energy is waning very quickly, but because 1970 is one of my favorite years musically. As an entry point for your casual fan, Isle of Wight sucks. Berkeley High is fine, but what if the masters of Rainbow Bridge*****, Oklahoma City, a dozen others were recovered? That would be insane. My latest find is 9-4-1970 at Deutschlandhalle Berlin, a week before Hendrix' death. One of those concerts in which the songs present a harmonic whole. Rough, ragged, ethereal, channeling some life energy from another universe toward which Hendrix (no disrespect conspiracy theorists) seems to have known he was heading. Old psychedelic shaman bluesman's pitch.
** The Patti Smith version blew my mind a month ago in Quezon City. I listened to the song exactly once, which is how it should be for the purposes of improv-on-improv stimulation.
***The Byrds sang Hey Joe, among others. It was a folk rock staple. And that was what was so genre-crushing about Hendrix, when he came along. He had been to Greenwich Village, he had run into everyone. He transformed the song but did not destroy it, linking its beat-folk cause to a worry-rooted vision of his own.
**** That New Year's recording is interesting ––to me it has a late-night blues rock, slow hand, cowboy-hat Dylan, Ike & Tina boogie, Pixies, Sublime, why you want to be so crazy, OPM, early Lennon, street festival, bayou zydeco flare (in that order).
***** I would have included Hey Baby/Pali Gap from that concert, but it is muted on Youtube. Anyway, check Hendrix' rap at the end of this clip to see his true genius as a cosmic comedian.