Recorded live at The Fillmore East in New York City N.Y. on December 31st, 1969 & January 1st, 1970, the Band of Gypsys debut recording consisted of six tracks released to the public on March 25th, 1970 – close to fifty years ago. That vinyl record established the template for the Funk & Roll genre.
The re-releases, with new tracks & multiple versions of the six tracks from the Fillmore shows, illuminated that Jimi Hendrix, Billy Cox, and Buddy Miles never played a tune the same way twice, breaking away from the “note-by-note” live renditions prevalent in Pop & Rock hit songs at that time. This “breaking away” also highlighting BOG’s use of improvisational interplay within the Pop/Rock song structure, which up to that time, had usually been exercised by Jazz musicians.
The Vernon Reid Band of Gypsys Revisited Band (VR-BOG-RB) further extends the music of Hendrix’s most jazz-oriented band, and Reid has assembled a prodigious quartet drawn mostly from the soul-jazz-hip-hop collective Burnt Sugar Arkestra for this one time visit to the West coast.
The group includes drummer/vocalist James “Biscuit” Rouse, who spent three years as music director for Lauryn Hill, bassist/vocalist Jared Michael Nickerson, who’s toured and recorded with Charlie Musselwhite and The The and guitarist/vocalist André “Dré Glo” Lassalle, a longtime Reid collaborator whose credits include work with Miles Davis and John Scofield.
As the lead guitarist and founder of Living Colour and a co-founder of the Black Rock Coalition, the London-born, Brooklyn-raised Reid has done a great deal to undermine stereotypical expectations of what kinds of music black artists ought to play. Drawn to jazz as a teenager, he first gained notice in the early 1980s as a member of Ornette Coleman Prime Time and drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society, to where now his rampant eclecticism encompasses everything from hard rock and punk to funk, R&B and avant-garde jazz, and his anarchic, lightning-fast solos have become something of a hallmark as well.
As a trailblazing rocker Vernon Reid is the ideal artist to celebrate the legacy of Jimi Hendrix on the occasion of the late guitar icon’s 76th birthday.