150

Nguyen Le: Purple: Celebrating Jimi Hendrix

Julian Derry By

Sign in to view read count
Nguyen Le: Purple: Celebrating Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix's greatest quality was the way he engaged his audience. The warm powerful tones of his guitar playing, the near- spiritual journeys through new magical lands of guitar wizardry drew the listener in to share in an emotional embrace. Alas, elements of this Hendrix tribute album conspire to make it an impersonal, less earthy experience. Nguyên Lé's guitar tone is not so warm. Reedy guitar-synth patches suit the angular playing better heard on his 1996 album Tales from Vietnam. The overall impression is one of Scott Henderson without the blues, when the blues are foremost in Hendrix's music, preferably intoned with a visceral grungy Fender/Marshall voice. The new readings of classic songs lead us further afield. Familiar Hendrix motifs are sold short at the cost of sentimentality. Even lyrics have been translated into various lingoes.

Arguably tributes should embrace the honouree's contribution and then extend it in new directions. Lê fleetingly doffs his hat to Hendrix in his playing and in the liner notes but nevertheless does not make us understand his debt to him. Nor would one find sufficient indication of this from his previous work. Nonetheless, when he does crank up the reverb and sticks to the script, he can do quite a good imitation.

There is good support from the sidemen. Probably best known is Me'Shell NdegéOcello (Madonna, Chaka Khan, John Mellencamp) who lays down some plump fluid basslines on her two guest tracks, but gets eclipsed by Michael Alibo's funk bass, which gives an interesting contemporary twist on the other cuts. Most notable for her vocal work here is drum prodigy Terri Lynn Carrington (Wayne Shorter, John Scofield, Cassandra Wilson), who otherwise puts in a solid performance embellished by Karim Ziad's African percussion.

The album is generally wishy-washy and lacking direction. It does not sufficiently replicate Hendrix, nor extend the listening experience of Hendrix's music. There are blistering good acid jazz versions of Hendrix favourites, but these are too infrequent, dispersed between long sections of production effects. Highlights are a funked-up "Purple Haze," an Africanised "Voodoo Child [sic] (Slight Return)" and a take on "If 6 Was 9" similar to the R&B version Santana has been playing recently on tour.


Track Listing: 1 1983... (A Merman I Should Turn To Be) 2 Manic Depression 3 Are You Experienced 4 Purple Haze 5 Burning of the Midnight Lamp 6 If 6 Was 9 7 Voodoo Child (slight return) 8 South Saturn Delta 9 Up From The Skies 10 Third Stone From The Sun

Personnel: Nguyen Le: guitar.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: ACT Music | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Argonautica" CD/LP/Track Review Argonautica
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "Intermetallic Compounds" CD/LP/Track Review Intermetallic Compounds
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 18, 2016
Read "Avant Funk" CD/LP/Track Review Avant Funk
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 26, 2016
Read "Sinking Houseboat Confusion" CD/LP/Track Review Sinking Houseboat Confusion
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 14, 2016
Read "Inhuman Wilderness" CD/LP/Track Review Inhuman Wilderness
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 6, 2016
Read "The LA EP" CD/LP/Track Review The LA EP
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!