Saturday, March 25, 2006

Jimi Hendrix - Nine To The Universe (1980)

Released in 1980, Nine To The Universe is a virtually all-instrumental album that has never officially been issued on CD and was another in a long line of posthumous releases of Jimi Hendrix's music. Reportedly recorded in the first half of 1969 during the Electricladyland sessions, Nine To The Universe is nothing more than a bunch of spontaneous jam sessions Hendrix undertook with anybody who would play with him at that moment.

The original album had only five tracks yet clocks in at over thirty-eight minutes, a good length for the days of the old 33 1/3 RPM record, but it would be considered quite short today. In order to make it all fit on one LP over 40 minutes of music was edited from the original sessions. One example is the title cut. It was faded at 8:46 on the album but the full performance stretched out to 18:49. Apparently there are bootlegs available with all five sessions in their entirety plus two more very lengthy ones no one ever heard.

Hendrix is sensational on this album. Most of his playing is high energy, sometimes bordering on frantic. The best jams are the title cut in which a mean bass riff never relents under Hendrix's manic improvisation and a track simply titled "Young/Hendrix Jam," which runs for 10:22. The latter features some great interplay with Larry Young, a jazz organist who played with Miles Davis on Bitches Brew. Hendrix is a little more subdued here allowing Young to share much of the spotlight with him.

I'm guessing that these pieces were not meant for release. Two of them don't even have legitimate titles such as the session with Young and another simply titled "Jimi/Jimmy Jam" for his duet with guitarist Jim McCartey.

Other guests include drummer Buddy Miles and Mitch Mitchell, Hendrix's former drummer with the Experience.

Nine To The Universe is easily my favorite Hendrix album.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Charlie,

    great review. I haven't heard this album,but it sounds like a goodie. I'll have to seek it out.
    Nice site, and I hope you don't mind me calling by from time to time.

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  2. I would really really love to hear this. Great blog, Charlie, came over from Ben Heller's.

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  3. Somewhere in my archive I'm sure I've got an old vinyl bootleg of this. Glad to know it's finally gotten a proper release on cd. Thanks for the review.

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  4. the LP was not a boot. An official release. Nice jams, but doesn't come close in intensity to The Jimi Hendrix Concerts (CD only).

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