Believe it or not, Jimi Hendrix would have turned 70 this year. Though the groundbreaking guitarist died at just 27 years old in the fall of 1970, he continues to leave behind an invaluable legacy. You don’t have to wait till what would have been his 70th birthday on November 27 to enjoy the latest releases in the partnership between Experience Hendrix and Sony’s Legacy Recordings. The original documentary film Jimi Plays Berkeley, derived from the two concerts Hendrix performed at the Berkeley, California’s Berkeley Community Theatre on Saturday, May 30, 1970, will make its Blu-Ray debut on July 10 along. A new DVD edition is also due the same date. Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Billy Cox (bass) joined Hendrix for these incendiary shows. Alongside Jimi Plays Berkeley will be the Blu-Ray premiere of the documentary Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child, and a new audio release on both CD and audiophile-quality 12-inch vinyl, Jimi Plays Berkeley (The Second Set).
The expanded and remastered Jimi Plays Berkeley film has been made from a new, digitally-restored transfer from the original 16mm negative. More than fifteen minutes of previously unseen footage includes performances of “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” “Machine Gun” and “Hear My Train A-Comin'” not featured in the original 1971 film release directed by Peter Pilafian.
Jimi Plays Berkeley features a 5.1 surround stereo soundtrack mixed by original Jimi Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer and commentary from Abe Jacob, the audio engineer who recorded the Berkeley concerts in 1970. Jacob has had one of the most renowned careers in sound engineering for both rock-and-roll and the Broadway stage, having pioneered modern theatrical sound design in productions including the original Jesus Christ Superstar, Pippin and A Chorus Line.
Jimi Plays Berkeley includes an audio-only presentation of the complete second set mixed in 5.1 surround sound. With 67 minutes of music, the second set concert recordings include such classics as “Stone Free,” “Hey Joe,” “Foxey Lady,” “Star Spangled Banner,” “Purple Haze,” and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).” John McDermott has also contributed an essay on the film’s genesis.
That second set from May 30, 1970 also forms the basis of Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live At Berkeley (The Second Set). It will be released on CD as well as on 12-inch vinyl as a double-LP set. The vinyl release is an all-analog recording cut by Bernie Grundman from the master tapes and struck by Quality Record Pressings (QRP) on 200-gram vinyl. This second set was last released on CD in 2003 by Experience Hendrix and MCA.
Hit the jump for more, including news on the Blu-Ray premiere of Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child and order links for all titles!
Jimi Hendrix – Voodoo Child, a 90-minute documentary film helmed by Bob Smeaton (The Beatles Anthology, Jimi Hendrix: Band of Gypsys), was first issued on DVD as part of the 2010 Legacy box set West Coast Seattle Boy. With narration by Bootsy Collins from Hendrix’s own words, the film incorporates interviews with Hendrix as well as rare performance footage. It makes its Blu-Ray premiere on July 10.
The DVD and Blu-Ray of the expanded and remastered Jimi Plays Berkeley; CD and vinyl of Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live At Berkeley (The Second Set); and Blu-Ray of Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child will all be available from Legacy Recordings and Experience Hendrix on July 10. You can pre-order at the links just above; we will update with a link for the CD and vinyl releases as soon as they are live!