Jimi Hendrix in Maui Documentary, Album Coming

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s visit to Maui in 1970 is the subject of a new feature length documentary Music, Money, Madness . . . Jimi Hendrix in Maui as well as the accompanying album Live in Maui. The film chronicles the group’s storied visit to Maui and how they became ensnared with the ill-fated Rainbow Bridge movie produced by their controversial manager Michael Jeffery. The title is being released on November 20 from Experience Hendrix LLC in partnership with Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

The Blu-ray will include the full documentary as well as bonus features featuring all of the existing 16mm color film shot of the two performances that afternoon mixed in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound. Included in the package will be Live In Maui on two CDs or three LPs, newly restored and mixed by longtime Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer, and mastered by Bernie Grundman.

Watch the trailer for the film

“Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” from this historic concert was made available on Sept. 10, the day the release was announced.

From the announcement: By the middle of 1970, Hendrix was working on a follow up album to Electric Ladyland with his bandmates Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Billy Cox (bass), headlining festivals and arenas across the U.S. and building Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. Completing this state-of-the-art recording facility was proving to be a costly endeavor, so his manager Michael Jeffery procured a $500,000 advance from Warner Bros. to fund the remaining construction required to complete the studio. At those same meetings, Jeffery convinced Warner Bros. executives to finance a film called Rainbow Bridge that was to be shot in Maui, in exchange for rights to its soundtrack album consisting of new Hendrix studio recordings.

Part of the crowd in attendance that day

Inspired by Easy Rider and directed by Warhol acolyte Chuck Wein, Jeffery’s film centered around the idea of a “rainbow bridge” between the unenlightened and enlightened worlds. It was envisioned to feature everything from surfing and yoga to meditation and Tai-Chi and filmed without the aid of a script or professional actors. It proved to be a rambling assemblage of hippie excess and Jeffery grew concerned that his investment was being squandered. The Experience were already booked to perform a concert in Honolulu at the H.I.C. Arena on August 1, 1970. Chuck Wein, desperate to feature Hendrix in some capacity within the film, devised a plan to film a free “color/sound vibratory experiment” on the lower slope of the dormant Haleakala volcano. Word of mouth about a free Hendrix concert led a few hundred curious Maui locals to the Baldwin cattle ranch in Olinda where a makeshift stage was constructed and the audience was arranged by their astrological signs. The performance was a success – the trio was at the height of its powers and played two sets flawlessly against a stunning natural backdrop.

In the aftermath of his performance on Maui, Hendrix would return to New York and his work at Electric Lady Studios. He had no further involvement in Rainbow Bridge. He left for Europe at the end of August to headline the massive Isle Of Wight festival and begin a European tour. Tragically, he would die in London on September 18, 1970.

The Cry of Love, the first album of posthumous Hendrix recordings, was issued in 1971 to wide commercial and critical acclaim. Jeffery readied Rainbow Bridge and its accompanying soundtrack to be the next release. Despite its Hendrix association, the film was a commercial flop. Rainbow Bridge confused moviegoers, many of whom were under the impression they were going to see a concert film. A scant 17 minutes of haphazardly edited Hendrix concert footage was used in the final cut, and it proved to be the film’s saving grace. Due to technical problems inherent in the original recording of the Maui performances, Mitchell had to overdub his drum tracks at Electric Lady Studios in 1971 just so those performances could be featured.

Kramer recalls, “Mitch did a tremendous amount of work on the overdubs. If he didn’t get it in one take, he certainly did in the second one and I was so blown away by his ability to duplicate the parts he had already played! He was determined to fix what suffered on the recordings due to the 50 mile an hour winds because they were playing on the side of a bloody volcano! After Jimi died it took a while before I was able to go back to the closet with all the tapes. Mitch was a trooper with a can do British attitude. It’s all very well to overdub drums, but to do it so you can’t tell, that’s the magic. He knew the material extremely well and it’s a tribute to his sensitivity as a great musician and an equal and willing partner of Jimi’s.”

The posthumously released Rainbow Bridge soundtrack album, prepared by Mitchell, Eddie Kramer and John Jansen, featured classics such as “Dolly Dagger” and “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun).” The album, however, did not include audio from the Maui concert, which may have also added to consumer confusion.

Directed by John McDermott and produced by Janie Hendrix, George Scott and McDermott, Music, Money, Madness . . . Jimi Hendrix in Maui incorporates never before released original footage and new interviews with firsthand participants and key players such as Cox, Kramer, Warner Bros. executives and several Rainbow Bridge cast members, as well as its director, Wein.

The Live in Maui soundtrack includes breathtaking renditions of crowd favorites like “Foxey Lady,” “Purple Haze” and Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” as well as then-unreleased songs like “Dolly Dagger” and “Freedom” that showcased the new direction Hendrix was moving toward.

“Jimi loved adventure and there was certainly no shortage of it during his time in Hawaii, a place he also loved,” says Janie Hendrix. “The back story of Rainbow Bridge and these recordings paint a picture of Jimi’s uncanny ability to turn the bizarre into something amazing! We’re excited about this release because it gives the world a closer look at Jimi’s genius.”

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Live in Maui CD Tracklist

Disc One – First Show
Chuck Wein Introduction
Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)
In From The Storm
Foxey Lady
Hear My Train A-Comin’
Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Fire
Purple Haze
Spanish Castle Magic
Lover Man
Message to Love

Disc Two – Second Show
Dolly Dagger
Villanova Junction
Ezy Ryder
Red House
Freedom
Jam Back at the House
Straight Ahead
Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)/Midnight Lightning
Stone Free

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