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From paratrooper to rock star -- Jimi Hendrix on WV PBS

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Courtesy of Graham F. Page/EMP Museum/Authentic Hendrix, LLC
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American Masters presents Jimi Hendrix 

Watch WV PBS Tuesday, November 5 at 9 p.m.

See the preview of this program

A pioneering electric guitarist, Jimi Hendrix (Nov. 27, 1942-Sept. 18, 1970) had only four years of mainstream exposure and recognition, but his influential music and riveting stage presence left an enduring legacy. American Masters traces the gone-too-soon guitar great’s remarkable journey from his hard-scrabble beginnings in Seattle, through his stint as a U.S. Army paratrooper, unknown sideman to R&B stars such as Little Richard, Joey Dee and the Isley Brothers, and his discovery and ultimate international stardom.

American Masters: Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’ unveils previously unseen performance footage and home movies taken by Hendrix and drummer Mitch Mitchell while sourcing an extensive archive of photographs, drawings, family letters and more to provide new insight into the musician’s personality and genius. Recently uncovered film footage of Hendrix at the 1968 Miami Pop Festival is among the previously unseen treasures featured.

Presented as part of a year-long celebration around Hendrix’s 70th birthday year, American Masters: Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’ uses Hendrix’s own words to tell his story, illustrated through archival interviews and illuminated with commentary from family, well-known friends and musicians, including Paul McCartney, band members Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox, long-time sound engineer Eddie Kramer, Steve Winwood, Vernon Reid, Billy Gibbons, Dweezil Zappa and Dave Mason.

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Credit Courtesy of © Ken Davidoff/Authentic Hendrix LLC
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Jimi Hendrix Experience performs at the 1968 Miami Pop Festival. Performance footage from the festival is among the previously unseen treasures featured in American Masters: Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’.

The film also features revealing glimpses into Hendrix and his era through interviews with the three women closest to him: Linda Keith (the girlfriend who introduced Jimi to future manager Chas Chandler), Faye Pridgon (who befriended Hendrix in Harlem in the early 1960s) and Colette Mimram (one of the era’s most influential fashion trendsetters who provided inspiration for Hendrix’s signature look and created such memorable stage costumes as the beaded jacket Hendrix famously wore at Woodstock).

Hear My Train A Comin’ details the meteoric rise of the Experience, the creation of his groundbreaking music, the building of Electric Lady Studios, his state-of-the-art recording facility in Greenwich Village, and concludes with poignant footage from his final performance in Germany in September 1970, just 12 days before his death at age 27.

To take American Masters beyond the television broadcast and further explore the themes, stories and personalities of masters past and present, the companion website offers streaming video of select films, interviews, essays, photographs, outtakes, and other resources.


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