FFM Records

The 8 best classical music viral videos on the internet




From cows enjoying a spot of brass music to sneezes, chilli peppers and, perhaps inevitably, animals – these are our favourite viral videos from around the world.

Thug Life

Perhaps he should have played the drums instead…

 The upside-down string quartet

Neat gymnastics, witty Vivaldi quotes and some unexpected Kurt Weill all combined to make this madcap performance. Brava, ladies.

Overtone singing

Frankly, we’ve never seen anything like this – a woman singing two notes at once and managing to make it sound utterly stunning. No mean feat.




2Cellos take on Iron Maiden

Along with the Piano Guys, 2Cellos have cornered the market for high-concept videos, but this is definitely one of our favourites. Taking on the might of Iron Maiden is a challenge at the best of times, but these two went one further and even got the approval from the beasts of heavy metal themselves.

 





The trombone sneeze

Self-explanatory. Easily the greatest concert mishap on the internet.

 

Chilli orchestra

This was never going to end well, but when this orchestra attempted to play while eating the world’s hottest chilli, few could’ve predicted how extreme the effects would be. Hilarious and terrifying.

 





The Mercurotti

Not content with being an exceptional Pavarotti impersonator, Marc Martel also knocks out a pretty mean Freddie Mercury, as evidenced by this one-man duet which he calls (wait for it…) ‘The Mercurotti’.

 





Trombone-playing farmer

Who doesn’t love a trombone viral videos? And this is without doubt one of the most wonderful. Watch what happens when this farmer takes a seat with his faithful bit of brass…




FFM Records

Music As Refuge From Stress




The stress-relief industry is booming. Mindfulness and meditation have become common practices in many large corporations, and research is backing their positive effects on stress management, cognitive functions and general health. Understanding the mechanisms of stress and relaxation as well as their effects on the brain and mind can help in creating a lifestyle that supports wellbeing throughout life. Recent research shows that music may have special power in dissolving stress and creating room for relaxation in our busy lives.

We all know what stress feels like. What is going on in the body when we’re stressed, what kinds of physiological processes cause the stress reaction? The stress reaction is caused by activation of the sympathetic nervous system, part of the autonomous nervous system, meaning a system that we have very little control over. The activation of the sympathetic nervous system influences many functions of the body: heart rate and blood pressure rise, the pupils of the eye dilate, sweating increases, blood rushes to the muscles, they may start trembling, the mouth gets dry and digestion halts to save energy. Stimuli that cause this activation are called stressors and include for instance startling, loud noises and exposure to threatening stimuli. Stressors can be things we encounter in our environments, but they can just as easily be things that we imagine. For instance, having to speak in public is a very common stressor that can activate the stress response and the sympathetic nervous system. Also, the mere thought of public speaking can cause the very same activation. This means that what counts as a stressor is highly subjective.



The physiological stress reaction can sometimes be unpleasant and counterproductive – for instance it’s not exactly helpful to have a dry mouth and knocking knees when you’re trying to project an image of confidence and be clear in your presentation. However, the stress reaction is your body trying its best to help you. Scientists believe the reaction has evolved to help humans survive life-threatening situations. For example, if you confronted a predator in the prehistoric era, you had a greater chance of outrunning it or beating it in a fight with all systems ready: muscles filled with blood and energy, heart ready to pump and acute vision. This is why the stress reaction is also often called the fight or flight response.

“If you remember only one thing from this post, let it be that the stress reaction is there to help you!”

What happens in the brain during the stress response? A review published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience summarizes the effects of stress on brain function and the mechanisms through which it affects thinking. In the brain, stress results in neurotransmitters called catecholamines to be released. In the case of small or moderate stress, they support the functioning of the frontal lobes, and result in an alert, focused state of mind. However, if the stress goes overboard, catecholamines are released in excess, in essence knocking out the frontal lobes. This brain area is important for higher cognitive functions such as planning, problem-solving and flexibility of thought. With these functions wiped out, more primitive reactions can surface – people become impulsive, irritable and irrational. For instance, in a study published in 2015, researchers found that stressed-out subjects had a harder time making healthy snack choices!

Typically a small amount of stress promotes healthy functioning of the human body in a trying circumstance. However, sometimes the stress reaction becomes prolonged and can have serious adverse effects on health. This type of chronic stress has been connected to an increase in inflammatory agents in the blood stream, which in turn prolongs, for instance, the healing of wounds, results in repeated colds, and is connected to serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Furthermore, chronic occupational stress has been connected to atrophy in the certain parts of the frontal lobes as well as the striatum, important for pleasure and motivation.





In summary, chronic stress can have detrimental effects on the cognitive abilities that are most needed at work and the brain areas that support these abilities, as well as on general health.  Luckily, there are many things we can do to counteract the effects of stress. One of these is mere knowledge about the stress reaction (good thing you have read this far!). In a study published in 2011, researchers investigated the influence of how subjects thought about their stress on the physiological effects it exerted. A third of the subjects were assigned to a group that was informed about the physiology of stress and told that the increase in heart rate, the dry mouth, the trembling were there to help the individual and not harm. One third were told that the best way to cope with the stress reaction was to ignore it and one third was not given information about stress. All subjects were then stressed by the Trier Social Stress Test. This test is very effective and routinely used to elicit the stress response in scientific experiments: it requires participants to deliver a 5-minute speech in front of evaluators, often dressed in white lab coats, who provide negative feedback about the speech. After the speech the participants in this study were also asked to count backwards from 996 in steps of 7 while the evaluators again provided negative feedback about the subject’s performance.

“Chronic stress can have detrimental effects on the cognitive abilities that are most needed at work”

Amazingly, the subjects who had received information about stress and changed their appraisal of the stress response from negative to positive, experienced less constriction of blood vessels during stress and showed better cardiac efficiency than the subjects who were instructed to ignore the stress or the subjects who did not receive specific instruction or information about the stress response. This difference in physiological responses to stress that knowledge and reappraisal can make may be behind the astounding findings of lower premature mortality in individuals who were highly stressed in their lives but did not believe that stress affected their health negatively, than in individuals who were highly stressed and believed that the effect was negative on health. Therefore, if you remember only one thing from this post, let it be that the stress reaction is there to help you!



In addition to knowledge and appraisal of the stress reaction, there are many other ways to counter the negative effects it may have on the body and mind. Luckily, the body is not only capable of fight of flight, but also of the relaxation response, brought on by activity of the parasympathetic nervous system. Much like its sympathetic sister, the parasympathetic nervous system also influences many organs and systems in the body: with activation of this system, heart rate and blood pressure decrease, the muscles relax, digestion and salivation activate and sexual arousal is possible. The sympathetic nervous system is activated by perception of a stressor, but the parasympathetic nervous system becomes active in the absence of stressors or activating stimuli. However, our lives are nowadays built in a way that stressors are abundant. We may spend our workday in a state of constant stress only to come home to spend time in front of a screen delivering more activating stimuli. States of low arousal and relaxation have to be therefore consciously created to allow the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in. Meditation and mindfulness practices create the opportunity for just this, which may in part explain the positive effects on health that people experience.

Another very powerful way to create opportunities for the relaxation response to activate is through music. A study published in 2015 that we recently wrote about found that listening to music has a powerful influence on the physiological effects of stress. However, the effect depends on the mindset of the listener – the study found that only music which was listened to with the explicit intent of relaxing significantly lowered stress levels as well as concentrations of cortisol, the hormone released during the stress response. In addition to intent, a recently published study showed that personal preference also plays an important role in the stress-alleviating effects of music listening. In summary, music can be an enjoyable and powerful stress relief, but whether it works depends on many subjective factors.

Why is the Sync Project writing about stress? As stress is a major factor in overall health, wellbeing and cognitive fitness, understanding the effects of music listening on physiology and its promises for stress management could result in important advances for supporting health on a global scale. The Sync Project aims at enabling research that takes into account personal preference, listening context and other subjective factors in determining the physiological and stress management effects of music listening that takes place in real life.

 




FFM Records

All the Way Up: Time To Change Our Tune Towards Elevator Music?




It’s the late 1930s. You’re in New York for the first time from out of state and have just arrived at the Chrysler Building for a job interview. You’re overwhelmed by the city and nervous about the interview itself. The building is taller than anything you’ve ever seen, and to reach the top floors you’re ushered into a small cube-like box called “an elevator.” You’ve heard of these things, but it’s your first time traveling in one. And you’re uneasy about it. Suddenly the elevator is full and the suited operator closes the doors, presses some buttons and your stomach lurches as you start to rise.

“You’re looking nervously down at the floor – avoiding the gaze of the other passengers – when through the silence you hear …. soothing music. ”

Slow, even-paced and slightly jazzy, it doesn’t sound like anything you recognize. In fact, you very quickly forget it’s even playing. Remarkably though, once you reach your floor you feel rather calm, leaving your fears behind in the elevator and walking out with your head held high, ready to get the job. And completely unaware that you’ve just had your first experience with functional music.



That – or so the story goes – is how “elevator music” got its name. The public were understandably nervous about traveling in new-fangled elevators back when they were first developed, so building owners embraced the idea of playing soothing, innocuous background music to calm passengers down. But to understand the actual origins of so-called “muzak”, we need to look back a little further…

FROM STIMULUS PROGRESSION TO QUANTUM MODULATION

It began in the 1920s, with an inventor and army general by the name of George Owen Squier. Part of the U.S. Army’s signal corps, General Squier was responsible for some important telephone inventions and held numerous patents in the field. He was also intrigued by the idea of music influencing productivity, for which he came up with a technique called “Stimulus Progression.” With the technique – which was used in factories at the time – workers were played 15-minute blocks of music that steadily increased in tempo and volume, so that they would unconsciously speed up their pace accordingly.

Squire’s first company delivered this music via telephone (appropriately named Wired Music) as radio technology at the time was relatively expensive and cumbersome to set up. Squier came to the conclusion that his future lay not on the factory floor, but in retail. By now it was the roaring 50s and retailers wanted calming music to pipe into their stores. The theory was if customers felt relaxed, they would stay in stores longer and buy more goods. The company resurfaced with a far more memorable name that has become synonymous with it’s product: Muzak. His company would build up a massive catalog of “elevator music” (later, commercially recorded music based on pop hits) and an associated image that would forever be embedded in popular culture. Ironically, the Muzak company never actually produced music for elevators!

The story of Muzak essentially ended in 2011, when the company was acquired by a customer experience corporation called Mood Media. In the US alone, Muzak’s catalog was playing some three million tracks in as many as 300,000 locations. So while the trademarked entity no longer exists, the muzak itself plays on – and is likely to be in our ears for many years to come…



BUT CAN MUSIC REALLY IMPROVE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY AT WORK?

Companies like Muzak convinced their clients that the music piped into their malls, kitchens and hotel lobbies made things run more smoothly but it’s unclear what evidence actually supported these claims. Fortunately, more recent studies have provided deeper insights into the capacity for music to effect mood and productivity in ways that would have likely tickled the old general.

While there is little information to evaluate if Squier’s “Stimulus Progression” technique actually worked, we know that co-ordinated movement to music has documented emotional and physical effects. A recent study showed that when people move synchronously to music in a group they reported having a higher threshold for pain and feeling more socially connected. This could have real implications for jobs that involve strenuous physical activity like construction — though it seems unlikely that you’ll be seeing a work crew in a choreoCo-Ordinated Dancing Theregraphed dance anytime soon.

 




FFM Records

How Music Heals and Beautifies




“What is music?”

“What is healing?”

“What is beauty?”

When I stopped to feel the essence of these questions, I traveled to a place deep inside myself, to a place beyond time, to where everything was pure energy. In this expanse, imagine all possibilities existing as unexpressed vibrations, humming at the sub-atomic level, inaudible but nevertheless emitting a unique vibrational signature, a tonal structure within the Universe. Suddenly, from this womb of all possibilities, an impulse of energy ignites a spark of light and a sound is expressed.

For me, this is the essence of music – a unique expression of vibrational sounds traveling from the field of all possibilities into this dimension for us to experience. In fact, I feel this is the essence of all life – everything and everyone is a unique expression from this vibrational field of all possibilities. Call it what you will, but a name, concept or label cannot contain this essence from which we are all created.

I feel this ocean of possibilities as the place from which emanates the “Music of the Spheres”, a writer’s muse, divine inspiration, and the melody that wakes you up at night. Can you imagine this field containing the possibility of everything and yet nothing exists until it’s expressed through someone in some form?

Components of music such as notes, rhythms, key, harmony, melody, tuning, scales, instruments, are building blocks musicians use to create their compositions – their highways of sound between the field of possibilities and the listener.



Now, here’s the million dollar question, “What travels on or through this highway of sound that heals?

Merriam-Webster defines “heal” as “to make sound or whole, to restore to health, to restore to original purity or integrity.” It’s interesting that within the definition of heal is “to make sound.”

Expressions of music are as diverse as the musicians who play it.

We (I’m including myself) create highways of sound that reflect life from our perspective. Society categorises music in genres to help identify the aspects of life reflected in that sound – classical, rap, new age, metal, rock, blues, country, etc. Yet, within each genre, no two songs are alike. Even if the same song is recorded by several different musicians, it won’t feel the same because each expression is unique to the musician who performs or records it.

How does music heal?

I want to acknowledge that what follows are scientific principles used in a metaphoric representation.

Let’s get back to our field of possibilities and agree that everything is energy and everything has its own unique vibrational signature that identifies its unique expression from this field of possibilities. We’ll call this unique signature a “resonant frequency.” As humans, we’re full of unique energy signatures that include our cells, organs, blood, bones, thoughts, emotions, memories, beliefs, and everything that exists inside of us. We’re like a harp with all these strings that resonate at different frequencies inside of us. When we’re “in tune” we feel healthy and strong. Some days we resonate in the middle of the instrument; some days we resonate more in the lower register; and some days we resonate in the upper register. However, all of the strings make up the wholeness of who we are.

This is my favourite part – when two objects of the same frequency come into close proximity to one another, they begin to sympathetically resonate or “sing” together. For example, when you strike one tuning fork and place another tuning fork of the same frequency next to it, the 2nd tuning fork begins to sing or resonate with the first one. Since everything has a frequency, and human beings have a full range of vibrational frequencies inside of us, we are affected by everything and everyone around us through sympathetic resonance. Sometimes it feels great and sometimes it’s a very heavy feeling but it’s always a vibrational experience. The key thing to remember is we wouldn’t be feeling or experiencing anything if we didn’t have those same frequencies inside of us! Sympathetic resonance can only happen with vibrations of the same frequency.

Life Happens

From the time we’re conceived we’re experiencing the vibrations of life, the music of life: our mother’s heartbeat, the muffled sound of her voice, cries of hunger, calming lullabies, nursery rhymes, church hymns, high school dances, music lessons, and so on, all intimately connected to the music expressed by musicians sharing their highways of sound, reflecting life from their perspective. The energy of their life experiences, stories, intentions, flow through their music and sympathetically resonate those frequencies within the listener.



We sympathetically resonate with music that reflects how we’re experiencing life and are often drawn to music that moves us emotionally, physically, spiritually, creatively, mentally, or culturally, because it makes us feel a certain way, awakens memories, or inspires dreams. Other times we’re drawn to listen to music that’s unfamiliar, creating new internal experiences of resonance.

Full Circle

Let’s bring this back to the definition of “heal” – “to make sound or whole, to restore to health, to restore to original purity or integrity.”

Our bodies are a symphony of vibrational systems humming in harmony. When life experiences throw us out of balance or out of tune, we often seek an external reminder of that harmony, wholeness, or original state of purity. Music is one such reminder and you get to decide what, when, how, and why to listen.

Remember, music moves through the musician and reflects their unique expression of life. No two highways of sound are alike.

Whose expression resonates with you? When used in this conscious way, any genre of music can help bring balance back into our lives.

How does music heal? It’s your choice – and that’s what makes it so beautiful. You get to choose what music makes you feel sound, whole, healthy, and restored to your original purity or integrity.

What music will you listen to today? Whatever your choice, enjoy!

-Amy Camie – MU Columnist

Amy Camie, is a professional harpist, recording artist, performer, composer, public speaker, author, and Founder of the Scientific Arts Foundation. Pilot research with her inspired healing harp CDs has shown they reduce pain, distress, and anxiety levels, and support brainwave and immune system function. Amy’s inspired music relaxes the body, calms the mind, and gently touches the soul. Please reach out to Amy through her website and social media!!

Amy’s Website



FFM Records

You teach music. It does the rest.




The easiest way to manage your music studio!

Have you ever wished for an easier way to track how much each student owes you? Do your students or their parents ever forget about a lesson or recital? Or did you ever lend out a book to a student, and never get it back?

Save time and money with an automated studio.
Whether you teach piano or percussion, violin or voice, Music Teacher’s Helper will save you time and money by automating and organizing your studio. Check out what it can do below, or signup for a free trial and see for yourself!




Some of the features:

Send invoices automatically
Accept payments online
Track income and expenses
Run reports for taxes
And more…
Lessons
On-line lesson calendar
Automatic lesson reminders
Lending Library
Practice Log
And more…
Website
Your own FREE website
List upcoming events
Post photos & videos
Multiple templates
And more…

 

 

 




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FFM Records

London’s leading off-west end studio theatre




About Us

During the 1930’s the basement of 16b Jermyn Street was home to the glamorous Monseigneur Restaurant and Club. The space was converted into a theatre by Howard Jameson and Penny Horner in the early 1990s, and Jermyn Street Theatre staged its first production in August 1994. Over the last twenty years the theatre has established itself as one of London’s leading Off-West End studio theatres.

Gene David Kirk became Artistic Director in 2009. With his Associate Director Anthony Biggs he was instrumental in transforming the theatre’s creative output with critically acclaimed revivals of rarely performed plays including Charles Morgan’s post-war classic The River Line, the UK premiere of Ibsen’s first performed play St John’s Night with Olivier-winning actress Sarah Crowe, and another Ibsen: his rarely performed late play Little Eyolf starring Imogen Stubbs and Doreen Mantle.

Other notable successes include 70’s musical Boy Meets Boy, which was nominated for six Off-West End Awards, The Two Character Play by Tennessee Williams, Graham Greene’s The Living Room and the Ivor Novello musical Gay’s The Word. In 2012 Trevor Nunn directed the World Premiere of Samuel Beckett’s radio play All That Fall starring Eileen Atkins and Michael Gambon. The production subsequently transferred to the West End’s Arts Theatre and then to New York’s 59E59 Theatre.




Anthony Biggs became Artistic Director in 2013 and has continued the policy of staging rediscovered classic plays alongside new plays and musicals, with a renewed focus on emerging artists, and writers from outside the UK. Recent revivals include Eugene O’Neill’s early American work The First Man, John Van Druten’s First World War drama Flowers of the Forest, and South African Reza de Wet’s supernatural tale Fever.
New work includes US playwright Ruby Rae Spiegel’s exploration of teenage sexuality Dry Land, Jonathan Lewis’s anarchic comedy about young people in the education system A Level Playing Field, and Sarah Daniels’ Soldiers’s Wives starring Cath Shipton, a stage adaptation of Sarah’s acclaimed BBC Radio play about five women living on a British army base whose husbands are serving in Afghanistan.

Jermyn Street Theatre was nominated for the Peter Brook Empty Space Award in 2011 and won the Stage 100 Best Fringe Theatre in 2012.

Jermyn Street Theatre is a registered charity and receives no public subsidy.




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FFM Records

London’s favourite live music club




THE HIDEAWAY – London’s favourite live music club

Live jazz, soul and funk set in a well thought out venue serving great food? There are a few good choices to be had in London.  But those in the know have, for the last six years, been heading to SW16.  With a varied programme of British and International artists, this intimate 250 capacity venue has quickly earned its reputation as one of the finest live venues in town, scooping up the prestigious Parliamentary Jazz Live Music Venue of the Year award along the way!



Hideaway is South London’s award-winning live music and comedy venue featuring the very best Jazz, Funk, Swing and Soul, showcasing new talent, established artists and star performers. Our comedy nights present the very best stand-up comedians on the circuit.  Located minutes from 3 train stations and 18 bus lines in Streatham in the heart of South London, HIDEAWAY never fails to deliver a great show with the top class of performing artists in the United Kingdom today. The stylish environment of our club creates a laid-back, relaxed ambience where you can really appreciate great live music. Join us for a drink in our fantastic bar and a delicious meal from our chef’s exciting, seasonal menu. For a very special night out in London with great live music and a fabulous atmosphere make sure you discover Hideaway too!

Hideaway opened in early 2010 and has amazed live music fans since then at the range of performances and the quality of the shows and hospitality. HIDEAWAY won the Parliamentary Jazz Awards gong for Live Music Venue of the Year, 2011/2012 and has been nominated for other equally prestigious awards since.




FFM Records

Mike Lovatt’s amazing signature trumpet




Mike Lovatt Smith Watkins Bb trumpet

Specification

  • Pitch:Bb
  • Bore Size: .460″dia
  • Finish: Silver Plate or Gold option
  • Bell Material/Diameter: Yellow brass/360mm
  • Leadpipe: ML supplied as standard. Smith-Watkins range available as extras
  • Finger buttons: Laser-etched Titanium (Also available for other Smith-Watkins instruments)
  • Total Weight (ex mouthpiece): 1.2kg
  • Supplied with fitted case with additional space for a second trumpet or mutes
  • Handcrafted and designed in Yorkshire, England
  • *ML mouthpiece supplied as optional extra

Mike Lovatt studied at Trinity College of music where he was awarded the Jon Kelly Jazz Scholarship. He has performed and recorded a wide range of musical styles with many artists including Quincy Jones, Robbie Williams, Eric Clapton, The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Michael Buble, Oasis, Michel Le Grand, Tony Bennett, Toots Thielmans, Marty Paich, Johnny Mathis, The Michael Nyman Band, Michael Ball, Shirley Bassey, Michael Crawford, Danny Elfman, Joby Talbot, The BBC Symphony and Concert Orchestras, London Brass, and The Glenn Miller Orchestra.

As Principal Trumpet in London’s West End, Mike has performed in Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, The Producers, Billy Elliot, Guys and Dolls, Saturday Night Fever, My Fair Lady, and Spamalot amongst others. Mike is the lead trumpet of the BBC Big Band who featured him in a tribute to Maynard Fergusson. He has played on movie soundtracks including the James Bond films Tomorrow Never Dies and Die Another Day, Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with The London Symphony Orchestra, the award winning Chicago, Kevin Spacey’s Beyond the Sea, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Madagascar, and The Corpse Bride. He is featured on trumpet and cornet in George Fenton’s Mrs Henderson Presents, and on trumpet in ‘Looking for Eric.’

Mike is principal trumpet with the Grammy Nominated John Wilson Orchestra and has been featured in their celebrated BBC promenade concerts and recordings.

In 1999 Mike first performed the Sacred Music of Duke Ellington with Jessye Norman, Mark Markham, Ron Carter and Grady Tate. This collaboration with Ms Norman has continued with a duo appearance at the Tate gallery in London, and touring extensively with performances at Carnegie Hall, throughout Europe and the Montreux Jazz Festival where the legend Quincy Jones commented “great chops Mike.”

Mike is sought after as a teacher, clinician and is a professor of trumpet at The Royal Academy of Music and The Royal College of Music. In April 2013, Mike was proud to be awarded the prestigeous position of The Derek Watkins’ Chair of Trumpet at The Royal Academy of Music, London.

In 2009 Mike was soloist with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra Brass Ensemble and more recently the Espoo Big Band Helsinki and The London Symphony Orchestra with Eddie Daniels.

In 2012 Mike  recorded and was featured with Carl Davis on his score for the TV Drama series ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ , John Lunn’s music for ‘The Lady Vanishes’ and Charlie Moles’s music for the  hit itv series ‘Mr Selfridge’




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FFM Records

Help us support our young musicians in Uganda




FFM’s  friend Wodonya Innocent is raising money to help young musicians in Uganda. They need to buy instruments to continue the fantastic work already being done by the David Kiwana Wind Orchestra. Please visit their GoFund Site and pledge a few pounds/dollars/yen to help them give music to young people in Uganda.
“We are a starting wind classics band and we intend to give chance to our players  to play music and we really need your support for us to do it please what ever you give will help give a chance to one African child a  chance to get a chance to play music .
thank you all all friends around the world .
Help spread the word!”
Wodonya Innocent





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FFM Records

Rock Legends: Jimi Hendrix




James Marshall Hendrix

November 27th, 1942 – September 18, 1970

Widely recognized as one of the most creative and influential musicians of the 20th century, Jimi Hendrix pioneered the explosive possibilities of the electric guitar. Hendrix’s innovative style of combining fuzz, feedback and controlled distortion created a new musical form. Because he was unable to read or write music, it is nothing short of remarkable that Jimi Hendrix’s meteoric rise in the music took place in just four short years. His musical language continues to influence a host of modern musicians, from George Clinton to Miles Davis, and Steve Vai to Jonny Lang.

Jimi Hendrix, born Johnny Allen Hendrix at 10:15 a.m. on November 27, 1942, at Seattle’s King County Hospital, was later renamed James Marshall by his father, James “Al” Hendrix. Young Jimmy (as he was referred to at the time) took an interest in music, drawing influence from virtually every major artist at the time, including B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Holly, and Robert Johnson. Entirely self-taught, Jimmy’s inability to read music made him concentrate even harder on the music he heard.

Al took notice of Jimmy’s interest in the guitar, recalling, “I used to have Jimmy clean up the bedroom all the time while I was gone, and when I would come home I would find a lot of broom straws around the foot of the bed. I’d say to him, `Well didn’t you sweep up the floor?’ and he’d say, `Oh yeah,’ he did. But I’d find out later that he used to be sitting at the end of the bed there and strumming the broom like he was playing a guitar.” Al found an old one-string ukulele, which he gave to Jimmy to play a huge improvement over the broom.
By the summer of 1958, Al had purchased Jimmy a five-dollar, second-hand acoustic guitar from one of his friends. Shortly thereafter, Jimmy joined his first band, The Velvetones. After a three-month stint with the group, Jimmy left to pursue his own interests. The following summer, Al purchased Jimmy his first electric guitar, a Supro Ozark 1560S; Jimi used it when he joined The Rocking Kings.

In 1961, Jimmy left home to enlist in the United States Army and in November 1962 earned the right to wear the “Screaming Eagles” patch for the paratroop division. While stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Jimmy formed The King Casuals with bassist Billy Cox. After being discharged due to an injury he received during a parachute jump, Jimmy began working as a session guitarist under the name Jimmy James. By the end of 1965, Jimmy had played with several marquee acts, including Ike and Tina Turner, Sam Cooke, the Isley Brothers, and Little Richard. Jimmy parted ways with Little Richard to form his own band, Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, shedding the role of back-line guitarist for the spotlight of lead guitar.

Throughout the latter half of 1965, and into the first part of 1966, Jimmy played the rounds of smaller venues throughout Greenwich Village, catching up with Animals’ bassist Chas Chandler during a July performance at Caf‚ Wha? Chandler was impressed with Jimmy’s performance and returned again in September 1966 to sign Hendrix to an agreement that would have him move to London to form a new band.

Switching gears from bass player to manager, Chandler’s first task was to change Hendrix’s name to “Jimi.” Featuring drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding, the newly formed Jimi Hendrix Experience quickly became the talk of London in the fall of 1966.

The Experience’s first single, “Hey Joe,” spent ten weeks on the UK charts, topping out at spot No. 6 in early 1967. The debut single was quickly followed by the release of a full-length album Are You Experienced, a psychedelic musical compilation featuring anthems of a generation. Are You Experienced has remained one of the most popular rock albums of all time, featuring tracks like “Purple Haze,” “The Wind Cries Mary,” “Foxey Lady,” “Fire,” and “Are You Experienced?”

Although Hendrix experienced overwhelming success in Britain, it wasn’t until he returned to America in June 1967 that he ignited the crowd at the Monterey International Pop Festival with his incendiary performance of “Wild Thing.” Literally overnight, The Jimi Hendrix Experience became one of most popular and highest grossing touring acts in the world.

Hendrix followed Are You Experienced with Axis: Bold As Love. By 1968, Hendrix had taken greater control over the direction of his music; he spent considerable time working the consoles in the studio, with each turn of a knob or flick of the switch bringing clarity to his vision.

Back in America, Jimi Hendrix built his own recording studio, Electric Lady Studios in New York City. The name of this project became the basis for his most demanding musical release, a two LP collection, Electric Ladyland. Throughout 1968, the demands of touring and studio work took its toll on the group and in 1969 the Experience disbanded.




The summer of 1969 brought emotional and musical growth to Jimi Hendrix. In playing the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in August 1969, Jimi joined forces with an eclectic ensemble called Gypsy Sun & Rainbows featuring Jimi Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell, Billy Cox, Juma Sultan, and Jerry Velez. The Woodstock performance was highlighted by the renegade version of “Star Spangled Banner,” which brought the mud-soaked audience to a frenzy.
Nineteen sixty-nine also brought about a new and defining collaboration featuring Jimi Hendrix on guitar, bassist Billy Cox and Electric Flag drummer Buddy Miles. Performing as the Band of Gypsys, this trio launched a series of four New Year’s performances on December 31, 1969 and January 1, 1970. Highlights from these performances were compiled and later released on the quintessential Band of Gypsys album in mid-1970 and the expanded Hendrix: Live At The Fillmore East in 1999.

As 1970 progressed, Jimi brought back drummer Mitch Mitchell to the group and together with Billy Cox on bass, this new trio once again formed The Jimi Hendrix Experience. In the studio, the group recorded several tracks for another two LP set, tentatively titled First Rays Of The New Rising Sun. Unfortunately, Hendrix was unable to see this musical vision through to completion due to his hectic worldwide touring schedules, then tragic death on September 18, 1970. Fortunately, the recordings Hendrix slated for release on the album were finally issued through the support of his family and original studio engineer Eddie Kramer on the 1997 release First Rays Of The New Rising Sun.

From demo recordings to finished masters, Jimi Hendrix generated an amazing collection of songs over the course of his short career. The music of Jimi Hendrix embraced the influences of blues, ballads, rock, R&B, and jazz a collection of styles that continue to make Hendrix one of the most popular figures in the history of rock music.




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