When Jimi Hendrix Debuted His New Group, Band of Gypsys
Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsys made their debut appearances with a series of concerts held on Dec. 31, 1969, and Jan. 1, 1970, at New York City's Fillmore East. Unfortunately, it wouldn't last.
By the end of January, Hendrix had broken up the short-lived power trio, but not before releasing a classic live set from the shows.
Hendrix constructed a new sound infused with more jazz and fusion while appearing on stage with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles. The shows were later edited and compiled on 1970's Band of Gypsys album, but not before being described as "the most brilliant, emotional display of virtuoso electric guitar playing I've ever heard" by legendary promoter Bill Graham in the Hendrix bio Kiss the Sky.
In addition to the new tunes, the definitive version of Hendrix's anti-Vietnam song "Machine Gun" emerged from these shows.
Listen to Jimi Hendrix Perform 'Machine Gun' at the Fillmore East
Despite the group's obvious chemistry, however, the Band of Gypsys would play only three dates – including the Winter Festival for Peace, their final performance on Jan. 28. The Band of Gypsys album became the only official live album released during Hendrix's lifetime. He died of a drug-related overdose in September 1970.
The rest of their songs together ended up taking a winding route to listeners.
Some were eventually gathered on Band of Gypsys 2 in 1986, and on 1999's Live at the Fillmore East. All four Fillmore East shows were subsequently compiled on 2019's Songs for Groovy Children. Cox and Miles also recorded some studio sessions with Hendrix that were collected on 2013's People, Hell and Angels.
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