Today, November 27, would have been Jimi Hendrix’s 75th birthday! And what should turn up in my email this morning but a version of Hendrix’s “Purple Haze”sent to me by the illustrious classical guitarist, composer, and guitar professor at Yale, Ben Verdery. That song came out on Jimi’s still-incredible and influential debut album, Are You Experienced.
Verdery writes: “Last May, 50 years after the release of the groundbreaking album Are You Experienced, my dear friend Ray White called me to see if I would do an interview discussing my thoughts on Jimi Hendrix. Talk to Ray about my love for Jimi? Are you kidding? I was in! Ray is one of America’s most beloved music radio personalities. I listened to Ray on WNEW-FM when I was teenager. As it turned out Ray’s film crew consisted of two Parisians, Pierre Mitz and Eric Stockplus. We all had so much fun doing the interview that I suggested we do a “Purple Haze” video here in town. A day later, on quite a foggy purple afternoon, we borrowed a friend’s down town rooftop, complete with a pirate flag (!) and shot the video. It is both a tribute to Jimi Hendrix, whose music deeply moves me 50 years later, and a small tribute to the city he loved so!”
Jimi fans will also notice a little quotation from another classic Are You Experienced song at the end of the performance. —Blair Jackson