I bought the two-disc version of Jimi Hendrix’s Blue Wild Angel: Jimi Hendrix Live at the Isle of Wight on Tuesday, as my final CD purchase of 2005. I haven’t finished listening to it yet, but so far it’s…well, it’s pretty ordinary. In a way, it’s kind of cool to know that The Greatest Human To Ever Finger A Fretboard had off nights just like any other musician. To take but one example, did “Machine Gun” really need to be 22 minutes long? And did it need a drum solo? No, and no. There’s some typically fine music on the double-disc, but overall it really doesn’t show Hendrix in the best possible light. Some of his run-throughs of “classic” tunes like “Purple Haze” are perfunctory, a fact which shouldn’t surprise anybody; he’d been playing the song for four years at that point—anyone would have gotten bored with it. I’m not sure this is a concert that should have been edited down to a single “highlights” disc the way it has been, though—it seems to me that Hendrix’s divine status virtually demands that his stuff be heard in full, fuck-ups, toss-offs and all. But I know most people only want the good stuff. So maybe they should stay away from Blue Wild Angel entirely.

CDs I brought with me to work today:

Amon Amarth, Versus the World
Fred Anderson Quartet, Volume Two, Disc One
Art Ensemble of Chicago, Reese and the Smooth Ones
Anthony Braxton, Quintet (Basel) 1977
Derek & the Ruins, Tohjinbo
Die Like a Dog Quartet, From Valley To Valley
Grave, Back From The Grave
High On Fire, The Art of Self Defense
Sonny Rollins, Our Man In Jazz
DJ Spooky, Optometry
David S. Ware, Third Ear Recitation
Yes, Relayer