Episode three in our November salute to Jimi Hendrix. This time the Rock N Roll Archaeologist speaks to two very different legends with very different Hendrix ties. First up is the immensely talented blues guitarist John Hammond and then we dig deep on all sorts of topics that weave in and out of the Jimi orbit with Living Colour’s superb guitarist Vernon Reid.
John P. Hammond
John Hammond is one of the world's premier acoustic blues artists: a Blues Hall Of Fame inductee and Grammy award winner with 33+ albums to date, an almost 60 year career, 8 Grammy nominations, 22 Blues Music Award nominations and 10 wins. He is the only person who has ever had both Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton in a band at the same time! Besides Hendrix and Clapton, John has performed or recorded with Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Duane Allman, Mike Bloomfield, JJ Cale, Tom Waits, The Band, John Lee Hooker, Dr. John and many more. A tireless performer, he continues to tour world-wide on an annual basis. Well until this year that is.
He began playing guitar in high school, partially inspired by the album Jimmy Reed at Carnegie Hall. He attended Antioch College for one year but dropped out to pursue a music career. By the mid-1960s he was touring nationally and living in Greenwich Village. Hammond has earned one Grammy Award and been nominated for four others. He also provided the soundtrack for the 1970 film Little Big Man, starring Dustin Hoffman.
As the lead guitarist of Living Colour and a co-founder of the Black Rock Coalition, Vernon Reid has done a great deal to undermine stereotypical expectations of what music black artists ought to play; 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. Born in London, Reid and his family emigrated to Brooklyn while he was a child; he began playing guitar at age 15, initially studying jazz and progressing quickly. In 1980, he joined drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society, a cutting-edge jazz group with whom he appeared on six albums; over the course of the decade, Reid went on to work with a wide variety of experimental musicians -- Defunkt, Bill Frisell, John Zorn, Arto Lindsay, and Public Enemy, among others.
Around 1983, Reid formed the first version of what was to become Living Colour; in 1985, with journalist Greg Tate, he formed the Black Rock Coalition, an organization devoted to opening doors in the music business for black musicians who were not content being confined to the roles of soul crooner or rapper. Living Colour did not really begin to jell until their lineup stabilized in 1986, and when Mick Jagger saw the group perform at CBGB's and invited them to appear on his Primitive Cool album. Jagger went even further, producing two demo tracks and helping to convince Epic to sign the group. Living Colour debuted to massive critical acclaim in 1988 with Vivid; the group lasted through Time's Up (1990) and Stain (1993) before disbanding in 1995.
Vernon Reid Band of Gypsys Revisited Band (VR-BOG-RB) have known each other since 1985, sharing the stage in bands such as the Screaming Headless Torsos, Yohimbe Brothers, Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber and The Black Rock Coalition Big Band.
In the spirit of revisiting, refreshing and further exploring the fun, funk & roll of the “Band of Gypsys Live at The Fillmore East” recording, Vernon Reid, André ‘Dré Glo’ Lassalle, James “Biscuit” Rouse, and Jared Michael Nickerson as VR-BOG-RB look forward to bringing this limited edition performance to your hamlet, city, town, or county fair.