VARIOUS ARTISTS -- In From the Storm (RCA Victor)

In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the legendary guitarist's death, Jimi Hendrix is the latest artist to be honored in a long line of tribute CDs. Boasting a wide variety of musicians, backed on most cuts by the London Metropolitan Orchestra, "In From the Storm" is better than the majority of the tribute CDs. Produced and engineered by original Hendrix studio veteran, Eddie Kramer, the recording sounds warm & vibrant.

Members of Hendrix's bands, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsies, along with almost two dozen other artists from across the musical spectrum make up the list of musicians on the CD. Most of the songs work quite well, and as would be expected on a collection like this, some do not.

Highlights on "In From the Storm" include Carlos Santana & Sass Jordan's take on "Spanish Castle Magic", and "Rainy Day, Dream Away" with vocals by Taj Mahal & blistering lead guitar work by Robben Ford. The dynamic range & clarity of the recording is breathtaking, especially on the latter song. Jazz great John McLaughlin contributes some incredible lead flourishes to Sting's rendition of "The Wind Cries Mary". The CD also features an interesting new arrangement of "Bold as Love" with Paul Rodgers and Steve Vai.

The low points on the CD are few and far between. Toots Thielemans' version of "Little Wing" transforms the song into something almost unrecognizable. The dance/funk version of "Purple Haze" also leaves a lot to be desired. Aside from those two songs, the others are all covered respectably.

The packaging on "In From the Storm" is quite nice. There are plenty of photos from the recording sessions, plus full musician credits on each track. Judging by prior orchestral tribute CDs, I looked at this one with some apprehension. The results this time, however, are much better than the rest. Definitely worth picking up.

© 1995 Steve Marshall