Music News


Jimi Hendrix only released four official studio albums in his lifetime. A lot has come out since, and soon there will be more. Today, Sony Music and the Hendrix estate announced plans to release a new album. It's called "Valleys of Neptune."

Marcie Sillman of member station KUOW tells us about it.

MARCIE SILLMAN: Most of the songs on the new album were recorded in London in a series of sessions in 1969. Eddie Kramer was there.

Mr. EDDIE KRAMER: This was the year that Jimi was trying everything to find the right direction.

SILLMAN: The longtime Hendrix engineer says the guitarist was experimenting after the release of his album "Electric Ladyland." He came to Olympic Studios to try out some new material.

Mr. KRAMER: Jimi was jamming with different musicians. And I think he had the concept of an album that would follow on from "Electric Ladyland."

Mr. JIMI HENDRIX (Musician): (Unintelligible) I think I'll start up (unintelligible).

(Soundbite of music)

SILLMAN: The tapes have languished in a London vault for the past 40 years. Kramer says he knew they were there and went to look for them with Janie Hendrix, Jimi's half-sister and the head of the Seattle-based company that controls the musician's estate.

(Soundbite of song, "Bleeding Heart")

Mr. HENDRIX: (Singing) People hear me, people hear me. Do you know what it means to be left alone?

SILLMAN: The new album, to be released by Sony Legacy Recordings, is the first of a series of Hendrix music and DVD documentaries the company plans to put out.

Eddie Kramer says he spent a year remastering the old analog tapes, using state-of-the-art digital technology to clean up the sound, but not too clean. He says he was trying to bring out the essence of Jimi Hendrix.

Mr. KRAMER: When he plays the guitar and it jumps out of the track, the hair on the back of my neck just stands up. It's just so raw and in your face.

(Soundbite of song, "Bleeding Heart")

SILLMAN: Hearing the tapes again, Kramer says, was a bittersweet experience. He says Hendrix was not only a client, he was a friend.

Mr. KRAMER: He was the greatest guitar player I ever had the privilege of working with.

(Soundbite of song, "Bleeding Heart")

SILLMAN: "Valleys of Neptune" will be released on March 9th.

For NPR News, I'm Marcie Sillman in Seattle.

BLOCK: And since we have to wait until March to hear that new album, in the meantime, we leave you with some classic Jimi Hendrix.

(Soundbite of music)

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