What if Jimi Hendrix had not passed in 1970 and went on to re-work the title track from his 1968 opus Electric Ladyland in 1977? That’s a question that perhaps no one has asked but keyboardist/composer/producer Jesse Fischer attempts to answer with his Soul Cycle band on their upcoming album.
Fischer’s fusion music falls somewhere between Sean Wayland and the James Taylor Quartet: not as jazz focused as Wayland and not organ-centric as Taylor, Fischer is nonetheless like both of them in mining the rich territory of that late 60s-70s grooves in coming up with his own genre-obliterating sound that crosses over jazz, soul, hip-hop, old-school electronica and others to make something rooted in that past but gazing out to leading edge. “Retro Future,” if you will, and that’s what he called this album, his first for ObliqSound and second overall. Fortunately, Fischer’s future is a future where instruments are still hand played by humans,.
Fischer did a couple of other covers on Retro Future, like The 5th Dimension’s “Age Of Aquarius” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” but nails “Electric Ladyland” best of all. For this tune that’s also known as “Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland),” Fischer brings in up-and-comer Chris Turner on vocals. Turner, with a pleading, steamy, Prince falsetto, draws out the strong soul essence that always existed in this song, and abruptly makes way in the middle of the performance for Fischer’s baby-makin’ Moog solo.
“Ladyland” never got the recognition that other cuts like “Crosstown Traffic,” “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” and “All Along The Watchtower” did, but neither did “Little Wing” from Axis: Bold As Love, initially. Then, Derek and the Dominos took that short song, extended it out to full length and unleashed that gorgeous melody. That’s what Jesse Fischer is doing with another barely-over-two-minute Hendrix deep cut. And he, with Chris Turner’s help, did it well.
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Feature photo: Isabelle Selby