JIMI HENDRIX Exhibition On Now At University Of Westminster

October 16, 2005, 14 years ago

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The following report is courtesy of Wood & Vale 24:

The spirit of the rebellious 1960s has re-emerged through a purple haze at the University Of Westminster. An exhibition of JIMI HENDRIX memorabilia is on display at the university's Regent Street building to coincide with the 39th anniversary of his legendary live performance at the old polytechnic.

Kienda Hoji runs the commercial music law course at the university and is an unashamed Hendrix fan. He said: "Hendrix epitomises what we strive to give our students. He was spontaneous, instinctive with a great sense of fun and I would say no one has ever come close to his advancement of the guitar.

"Whether any musicians today could be influencing people in the future the way Hendrix does now...I can't think of anybody."

Hendrix appeared on stage with CREAM in Portland Hall, Little Tichfield Street, now the law and commercial music faculty, on October 1 1966.

He flew into the UK days earlier and met ERIC CLAPTON and the other members of Cream at the airport. He asked the band if he could play with them at their upcoming gig at Regent Polytechnic. Hendrix was little known at the time but rumours about his guitar-playing prowess had circulated - and the rest, as they say, is history.

Mr Hoji said: "He blew everybody away including the members of Cream. I would have given anything to be there myself. "If all the people who claim they were at the gig were there the hall would have had to be at least twice the size.

"People who missed it were too embarrassed to admit it because of the magnitude of the event."

Five days after the gig the Jimi Hendrix Experience was formed with Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell and on October 23 the band recorded Hey Joe. The idea for the exhibition came about after guitarist Richard Dickinson had an amp he bought for £65 in 1971 authenticated as Hendrix's first Marshall amp. Aware of the university's links to Hendrix, Mr Dickinson contacted Mr Hoji and the amp, which still bears the marks of Hendrix's wild stage antics, became the centrepiece for the exhibition. The university's marketing and development department then hunted out other memorabilia including one of Hendrix's effect pedals, his snuffbox and original posters and prints.

Mr Hoji said: "Students recognise the importance of Hendrix and are still major fans. He's undeniably one of the most amazing geniuses, not so much for his antics on stage as his ability to invent, like playing The Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock.

"That was a rebellion against all values of American society."

The exhibition coincides with black history month and Mr Hoji hopes it will earn Hendrix recognition among young people obsessed with urban music.

He said: "I think it's so important for young black people to know the role Hendrix held in the growth of a genre that they may crease their face at or laugh at."

The Hendrix exhibition runs until October 28. Go to www.wmin.ac.uk for more information.

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