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Jimi Hendrix Fans Ready Birthday Celebrations

Jimi Hendrix fans all over the world are getting ready to commemorate what would have been the guitarist's sixtieth birthday. Two celebrations, from feuding factions of Hendrix's family, are of special interest: The first, to be held November 24th at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, will feature Hendrix's former group the Band of Gypsies, Buddy Guy, and members of Earth, Wind and Fire. On November 27th (Hendrix's actual birthdate), brother Leon Hendrix and several friends are hosting a show at B.B. King's Blues Club in Los Angeles to feature Arthur Lee and Love, Noel Redding, Brian Auger and members of the Electric Prunes and Iron Butterfly. The Band of Gypsies, which features bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles along with guitarist Eric Gales playing Hendrix's old parts, are also slated to appear at the L.A. gathering.
Devout Hendrix fans may choose to attend both events, because three days is ample time to make the drive. However, the Gypsies' Los Angeles appearance was in doubt after Ray Rae Goldman, who is helping to organize the Los Angeles event, told Rolling Stone that he received calls from Miles and Cox saying they could not appear due to pressure from the Hendrix estate -- or more specifically, from John McDermott, the musicologist who overseas the reissues of Hendrix's material. McDermott soundly denies this claim and Band of Gypsies manager Scott Carlson also said he received no such pressure.
"We had heard that the Band of Gypsies were scheduled for two different events in two cities on the same day," McDermott said. "When we learned it was not the case we had no objection. If Buddy, Billy or Eric want to play there, it's completely up to them."
The backdrop to the celebration is a lawsuit, filed by brother Leon Hendrix against his stepsister Janie, CEO of Experience Hendrix, the company that controls Jimi Hendrix's music and image. Janie, McDermott and friends of the estate are scheduled to attend the Seattle gathering, while Redding and Jimi's girlfriend Kathy Etchingham, who are allied with Leon in an attempt to wrest control of the estate from Janie, are presiding over the Los Angeles show.
However, sponsors of both events say that any intramural arguments should take a back seat to celebration of the music.
"There is no competition here," McDermott said. "We have our shindig. They have theirs. God bless 'em."
CHARLES BERMANT (rollingstone.com)

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