Friday, July 8, 2011

#169: Jimi Plays Monterey & Shake! Otis at Monterey

(D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, 1986)

These two films make up a separate disc in the Monterey Pop set, as well as a standalone that can be purchased separately. Hendrix's set is nearly an hour, but unfortunately Redding only plays for about 20 minutes. But what a spectacular 20 minutes! Although both films occasionally cut away from the performances, they are fairly straight ahead, especially Redding's, which avoids all interviews and extraneous dialog entirely.

The real treat here is the extra material, especially the commentaries by Charles Shaar Murray on the Hendrix film and the esteemed Peter Guralnick on the Redding film. Both men put the performances into context and hammer home how important these two performances were.

Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding were undoubtedly two of the most important musicians of the modern pop era, and the fact that their careers took such a huge jump at the same festival is a sad irony when considering the fact that neither one of them made it out of their 20s. As I've mentioned before, Redding is my favorite singer of all time, and while I can't say that I obsess over Hendrix in the way that some do, many of my fondest musical memories revolve around his output. This disc is a vital document of possibly the biggest on stage moment for each of these performers, and it's essential for anyone trying to understand American pop history.

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