Longtime JIMI HENDRIX Collaborator LARRY LEE Passes

October 31, 2007, 11 years ago

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JIMI HENDRIX' official website is reporting:

LARRY LEE, a fellow guitarist and longtime friend of Jimi Hendrix passed away on October 30, 2007 at the age of 64.

Born Lawrence H. Lee Jr. on March 7, 1943 in Memphis, Tennessee, Larry Lee would meet up with a fellow young guitarist-Jimi Hendrix-in early 1963 and forge a mutual friendship that would last a lifetime. At the time of their first meeting, Lee was playing guitar for Earl Gaines and Hendrix fresh from a brief stint with BOBBY TAYLOR & THE VANCOUVERS was back in Nashville trying to make a name for himself on the Chitlin' Circuit playing with the likes of SLIM HARPO, THE IMPERIALS, and alongside mutual friend, bassist Billy Cox in THE KING KASUALS.

As 1963 progressed, Lee's relationship with Hendrix deepened with the two routinely getting together to play music, trade chops, or even venturing to a local club for a game of one-upmanship amongst the local axe slingers-adventures that would even see their paths cross the likes of Nashville's own renowned Johnny Jones.

That year, Larry's personal connections had managed to land Hendrix a role with BOB FISHER & THE BARNESVILLES who backed CURTIS MAYFIELD and THE MARVELETTES (Motown's first all-girl group) on a packaged tour throughout central Tennessee. Later that year, despite Hendrix heading to New York in an attempt to spread his own musical wings; the friendship forged with Lee and Billy Cox ensured the trio remained in regular contact over the coming years.

By the summer of 1969, Hendrix was the most acclaimed touring act in America but at the same time, he was looking for new and innovative ways to evolve his music and expand his work on the Electric Church / Sky Church concepts. To help strengthen these ideas, Hendrix was looking for some calming and familiar influences in his immediate surroundings-for which he sent invitations to both Billy Cox and Larry Lee to come to New York and join his new band-Gypsy Sun and Rainbows. Not only was this new band the start of something new musically for Hendrix, it was also the band that he would lead to the grand finale at the Woodstock Art & Music Fair in mid-August.

For Lee, the whirlwind escape to New York came after being back home for only two weeks after returning from his tour of duty in Vietnam. But for Lee, long remembering his earlier days with Hendrix, clamored at the unique opportunity to head to upstate New York with guitar in hand and reunite with Hendrix. Over the coming couple of weeks, the expanded ensemble group-Gypsy Sun & Rainbows-prepared for their debut at Woodstock. The resulting performance is widely considered one of the single most influential live experiences in music history.

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