Jimi Hendrix Freedom Atlanta Pop Festival

Sony Music Entertainment brengt twee unieke Jimi Hendrix-opnamen uit:

Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival van Jimi Hendrix Experience vanaf 28 augustus op dubbel-cd en -lp
Documentaire Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church vanaf 30 oktober op dvd en Blu-ray

Sony Music maakt vandaag bekend dat er binnenkort maar liefst twéé bijzondere uitgaven van Jimi Hendrix op de markt komen. Op 28 augustus verschijnt een 2cd/lp registratie van het optreden dat de Jimi Hendrix Experience gaf op het Atlanta Pop Festival in 1970, terwijl op 30 oktober de documentaire Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church wordt uitgebracht op dvd en Blu-ray.

Zo’n 160 kilometer ten zuiden van Atlanta, naast een veld net buiten het dorp Byron, staat een gedenkplaat die werd geplaatst door de Georgia Historical Society om de locatie aan te geven van het Second Atlanta International Pop Festival, waar tussen 3 en 5 juli 1970 meer dan dertig muziekacts optraden, waaronder rockicoon Jimi Hendrix die voor het grootste Amerikaanse publiek uit zijn carrière stond. Hoewel het bezoekersaantal aanzienlijk was (naar schatting tussen de 300.000 en 400.000 mensen), kregen het festival en vooral Hendrix’ optreden nooit de aandacht die ze verdienden, gezien de historische betekenis en impact. Tot nu!

Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church, een nieuwe documentaire over de muzieklegende, zijn optreden op het festival en alle gebeurtenissen daaromheen, verschijnt op 30 oktober op dvd en Blu-ray. Hoewel de documentaire eerder werd uitgezonden, bevat deze nieuwe uitgave drie nooit eerder vertoonde nummers én extra bonusmateriaal. De film gaat over het grootse festival dat destijds werd uitgeroepen als het ‘Zuidelijke Woodstock’ en inmiddels wordt erkend als het laatste grote US Rock Festival. In de documentaire wordt het verhaal verteld over hoe de ontluikende rockfestivalcultuur massaal neerstreek in het kleine dorp Byron, Georgia en is Hendrix’ onvergetelijke optreden daar vastgelegd.

De film toont de inzet van promotor Alex Cooley uit Atlanta om het ultieme muziekfestival te creëren. Cooley boekte artiesten als Bob Seger, BB King en The Allman Brothers, maar móest ook Hendrix vastleggen om het driedaagse festival te kunnen opwaarderen tot een belangrijk cultureel evenement. Electric Church bevat interviews met Hendrix Experience-bandleden Billy Cox en de inmiddels overleden Mitch Mitchell, alsmede met Paul McCartney, Steve Winwood, Rich Robinson, Kirk Hammett, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, festivalorganisator Cooley zelf en vele anderen. Ook bevat de film adembenemend, 16mm materiaal in kleur van Jimi Hendrix’ optreden op Independence Day, slechts tien weken voor zijn vroegtijdige overlijden. Klassiekers als Hey Joe, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Purple Haze zijn te zien, plus geweldige versies van nummers zoals Room Full Of Mirrors, Freedom en Straight Ahead, dat Hendrix nog niet had opgenomen maar wat bestemd was voor een Experience-album waar hij die zomer aan zou werken. Een ander hoogtepunt is The Star Spangled Banner, gespeeld tegen een achtergrond van vuurwerk.

De audio-uitgave Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival van de Jimi Hendrix Experience, die verschijnt op 28 augustus, bevat zes nummers die nooit eerder te zien waren in de documentaire. Nu dus verkrijgbaar als dubbel-cd en tevens op vinyl, als dubbelelpee.

Tracklist Jimi Hendrix Experience, Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival

Disc 1
1)        Fire
2)        Lover Man
3)        Spanish Castle Magic
4)        Red House
5)        Room Full Of Mirrors
6)        Hear My Train A Comin’
7)        Message To Love

Disc 2
1)        All Along The Watchtower
2)        Freedom
3)        Foxy Lady
4)        Purple Haze
5)        Hey Joe
6)        Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
7)        Stone Free
8)        The Star Spangled Banner
9)        Straight Ahead

About 100 miles south of Atlanta, next to a field just outside the town of Byron, there stands a plaque erected by the Georgia Historical Society marking the location of the Second Atlanta International Pop Festival, where from July 3-5, 1970, “Over thirty musical acts performed, including rock icon Jimi Hendrix playing to the largest American audience of this career.” Despite the overwhelming attendance (estimated to be 300,000-400,000), the festival and Hendrix’s performance in particular, has not received its due in terms of historic importance and impact until now.

Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church, a new documentary film about the music legend’s Atlanta Pop set and the circumstances surrounding it, will debut on SHOWTIME on Sept. 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Experience Hendrix L.L.C. and Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, is releasing the DVD and Blu-ray version on Oct. 30, which will feature bonus content not included in the broadcast version. The film documents the massive festival hailed then as the ‘Southern Woodstock’ and recognized now as the last great US Rock Festival. The film presents the story of how rock music’s burgeoning festival culture descended en masse to the tiny rural village of Byron, Georgia and witnessed Hendrix’s unforgettable performance.

The film details the efforts by Atlanta promoter Alex Cooley to create the definitive music festival.  Cooley secured such talent as Bob Seger, BB King and the Allman Brothers, but Hendrix was the critical component he needed to elevate the three day festival to a major cultural event. Electric Church features interviews with Hendrix’s Experience band mates Billy Cox and the late Mitch Mitchell as well as Paul McCartney, Steve Winwood, Rich Robinson, Kirk Hammett, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, festival organizer Alex Cooley and many others. The film contains breathtaking, color 16mm footage of Jimi Hendrix’s Independence Day appearance, a mere ten weeks before his untimely passing.  Standout performances include such Hendrix classics as “Hey Joe,” “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” “Purple Haze,” as well as confident, compelling versions of songs such as “Room Full Of Mirrors,” “Freedom,” and “Straight Ahead” that had not yet been issued by Jimi on an Experience album, but were intended to be part of the album he was working on that summer. “The Star Spangled Banner,” played against a backdrop of exploding fireworks, is another highlight, which Cooley recalls as having “knocked peoples’ socks off.”

The audio release Freedom: Jimi Hendrix Experience Atlanta Pop Festival, which Experience Hendrix L.L.C. and Legacy Recordings will put out on Aug. 28, includes six performances not seen in the Showtime documentary. This will be available as a 2CD set and also as a 200-gram 2LP vinyl set. The first 5,000 vinyl units will be individually numbered.

By the beginning of the 1970s, Jimi Hendrix was unquestionably one of the most exciting rock musicians of his generation, having captivated the world with his highly stylized approach to blues guitar. In Electric Church, Paul McCartney freely admits to worshipping him, adding, “We all played guitar. We all knew a bit. But he seemed to know more than us.”

Jimi Hendrix put the rock festival concept on the map with his blistering performance at California’sMonterey Pop Festival in 1967, headlining 1968’s inaugural Miami Pop Festival, and providing the soundtrack for the counterculture with a dazzling set at Woodstock in 1969.

His performance at the Second Atlanta International Pop Festival was not only significant on a musical level, but also in terms of socio-political dynamics. The organizers were keen to push back against the cultural divide that was very much in evidence in the Deep South. It was assumed that rural audiences would not take kindly to “long-hair” bands, and that black and white artists could not comfortably exist on the same bill; Atlanta Pop set out to challenge those beliefs. Hendrix’s music and message of universal love made him the ideal artist to represent that pushback, and, appropriately, was the first act booked for the festival.

In the sweltering Georgia heat, amongst intimidating bikers who were hired as security, hundreds of thousands of mostly young music fans descended upon the festival grounds, eventually knocking over fences and leaving the organizers with no choice but to declare it a free event. Law enforcement, not equipped to handle such crowds, adopted a hands-off policy with regards to crowd control, drug use and nudity. Against incredible odds, the event proved to be largely peaceful. By the time the Jimi Hendrix Experience took the stage on the evening of July 4, the audience swelled to more than 300,000.

Massive, anarchic music fests in the U.S., unencumbered by high ticket prices and corporate sponsors were soon to be extinct, and the Atlanta Pop Festival was the last of this dying breed. Glenn Phillips(Hampton Grease Band) says, “This was, certainly in retrospect, sort of the end of an era, and a great end to an era. It was a powerful moment.”

The Atlanta festival footage in Electric Church was shot by Steve Rash, later known for directing suchHollywood films as The Buddy Holly Story and Can’t Buy Me Love. Rash intended for the footage he and his team were filming to be used for a documentary in the vein of Woodstock. When a deal couldn’t be secured, virtually all of the film lay undeveloped inside Rash’s barn for over three decades. The full-color film stock held up remarkably well, and makes for a transcendent viewing experience.

Bill Mankin, who worked on the construction and stage crews for the festival, provides liner notes for theFreedom package, describing his first-hand account. He explains, “At the center of the vortex was the master magician on guitar: the personification of a life lived fully and wildly, with no boundaries, no limitations, and aiming for the stars at light speed.”

Jimi Hendrix Experience – Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival 2CD/2LP VINYL (release date: August 28)

Disc 1
1) Fire
2) Lover Man
3) Spanish Castle Magic
4) Red House
5) Room Full Of Mirrors
6) Hear My Train A Comin’
7) Message To Love

Disc 2
1) All Along The Watchtower
2) Freedom
3) Foxey Lady
4) Purple Haze
5) Hey Joe
6) Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
7) Stone Free
8) Star Spangled Banner
9) Straight Ahead

Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church DVD/Blu-ray (release date: October 30)
Contains performances of three additional songs not included in the broadcast version of the film, and other never before released Hendrix bonus content.

Bron: Legacy of Music a division of Sony Music Entertainment


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