Jimi Hendrix

REVIEW by Willard Manus

JIMI HENDRIX by Keith Shadwick (Backbeat Books) is, at first glance, a coffee-table book about the late great rock musician. But when you dip into the jumbo-sized, 256-page tome, you realize just how serious a biography it is, thanks to Chadwick's copious research into Hendrix's life and music. Then too, the illustrations are on the understated side--black and white (for the most part) and not terribly numerous.

Chadwick, author of a recent book on pianist Bill Evans, focuses mostly on Hendrix's music-making. "I wanted to look closely at the music," he writes, "and if that meant sacrificing some of the detail about Hendrix's life, his loves and other personal and professional issues, then there were other books that covered those things very well. I didn't need to duplicate all that."

A trained musician himself (sax), Chadwick is well equipped to analyze Hendrix's musical gifts, which took him from journeyman jazz-guitarist status in the late 50s to rock-star fame and fortune a decade later.

Hendrix died tragically young in 1970. His life, someone said, "was like going from a little black and white tv to a giant screen with every color imaginable."