Lucky for us, Jimi Hendrix was so obsessed with studio possibilities that he left enough music to still last years. Originally released in 1997, South Saturn Delta includes fascinating experiments and alternate versions of well-known favorites in its hour-plus. The title track even integrates a four-piece horn section, pointing to the fact that, had Jimi lived, he would’ve deepened his jazz-rock fusion direction. Ironically enough, a hard guitar and drum instrumental demo duet with Mitch Mitchell—“Little Wing (Angel)”—ultimately became two of his most beautiful ballads. “Sweet Angel (Angel)” is Jimi alone. The only source for this master was damaged so the vocal line starts “In progress.” It’s still hypnotizing and fascinating… as is an alternate version of Bob Dylan’s “Drifter’s Escape,” notable for not only the tacked-on guitar flourishes recorded at Electric Lady in New York just prior to Jimi leaving for the August 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival but for the vocal itself.

Carlos Santana reinventing “Spanish Castle Magic” with Living Colour singer Corey Glover, bassist Stanley Clarke and the late Tony Williams on drums is only the beginning of a wildly eclectic and over-the-top impressive lineup of artists interpreting Jimi on Power Of Soul. Prince changes “Red House” to “Purple House.” Sting enlists John McLaughlin for “The Wind Cries Mary.” From Bootsy Collins with George Clinton to Clapton to Kravitz, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chaka Khan, John Lee Hooker, Cee-Lo Green, Musiq and Robert Randolph, each of these musicians gives this timeless material an individualistic spin. Power Of Soul is that rare tribute album that actually stays consistently great throughout its 19 tracks.

In A Phrase: Not Necessarily Stoned, But Beautiful

 

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