Nguyên L&ecirc – Purple: Celebrating Jimi Hendrix

Nguyên Lê
(ACT Music – 2003)
by Ricky Miller

Over ther years there have been a lot of Jimi Hendrix covers and tributes, but not so many in jazz and even less that were innovative. That’s the best word to describe this CD. Le teams up with drummer / vocalist Terri Lynne Carrington to bring us one of the more Innovative renditions of Jimi’s music that I’ve heard. Manic Depression is uptempoed a bit and, despite the fact that the vocals are sung in Vietnamese by Aida Khann, the song is actually treated like a standard. Bassist Meshelle NdegeOcello makes a guest appearance on an airy Are You Experienced and an ethnically influenced Voodoo Child.

Nguyen Le, a self taught guitarist, has a good feel for Hendrix nuances having started interpreting Hendrix music ten years ago. With Purple Haze Le adds some interesting effects to mash with Carrington’s vocals. One of my favorite Jimi songs is If 6 was 9, and here Le and vocalist Khann are sizzling as the vocals and tempo switch from english language funk-rock to a very sexy French vocal jazz groove with some killer Fender Rhodes from Bojan Zulfikarpasic… and then back to the hard groove at the end. Great track. Great CD.