If he had lived, Jimi Hendrix, the electric guitar god, who was arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music would have turned 75, Nov. 27. On Dec. 16, internationally acclaimed singer Navasha Daya, along with several other world class musicians will honor the iconic Hendrix at the Creative Alliance performance space in Highlandtown during, “A Soulful Rock and Roll Tribute to Jimi Hendrix.”

“He was an artist that spoke truth without fear, he just said what needed to be said,” Daya, who produced and curated the tribute to Hendrix, along with guitarist and producer Fanon Hill (who is Daya’s husband), told the AFRO.

Navasha Daya headlines an all-star tribute to Jimi Hendrix at the Creative Alliance on Dec. 16. (Courtesy photo)

“We don’t know what would have happened if he had stayed here because he was so innovative,” Daya added.

Hendrix died in 1970 at age 27 and recorded four albums; “Are You Experienced?” (1967), “Axis: Bold as Love” (1967), and “Electric Ladyland” (1968) with The Jimi Hendrix Experience band and one live album, “Band of Gypsys,” which he recorded the year he died.

Recently, Experience Hendrix and Legacy Recordings announced they will release Hendrix’s “Both Sides of the Sky,” Mar. 9, 2018. The 13 track album includes 10 Hendrix songs that have never been released. The new album is the third in a trilogy from Hendrix. “Valleys of Neptune,” was released in 2010 and “People, Hell and Angels,” which was released in 2013.

Daya will sing Hendrix’s songs alongside of some of Baltimore’s most talented musicians, many of whom have performed around the world.

Guitarist Matthew Chase (Jazz is PHSH, James Brown Dance Party) is the musical director for the concert and has been playing with Daya since she began her solo career in 2010. Daya describes Chase as, “a serious Jimi Hendrix student.” The rest of the Hendrix band includes: Blue Jenkins on bass, Charles Wilson on drums and Dre King on synthesizer.

The Hendrix tribute will also feature special guests performing with Daya including: Kelly Bell, veteran vocalist of The Kelly Bell Band; singer Katrina Ford, of the group Celebration; and powerhouse vocalist Jonathan Gilmore, of Jonathan Gilmore and the Experience.  Daya will also reunite with the avant-garde keyboardist Lafayette Gilchrist, leader of The New Volcanoes. Daya recently collaborated with Gilchrist on his last album, “New Urban World Blues.”

“Lafayette Gilchrist, if I can quote him, he said that Jimi Hendrix influenced everybody, on every instrument,” Daya said. “He didn’t just influence people who played guitar, he influenced Miles Davis, he influenced other singers…as far as expanding the ear, because he heard so far out. So, people were expanded by his presence.”

Hendrix’s ubiquity in music is that much more remarkable given that he only recorded four albums in a few short years. Yet, his influence as a virtuoso performer transcends genres and eras.

“What he represented was freedom and real gut music. He was an excellent baby of the Blues. I think if I was Muddy Waters and all of them I would be like, `That is my baby!’” Daya said.

“For me as a vocalist it is about honoring his music and then singing Navasha Daya. When you think about Rock and Roll, it is really in the Blues and I want to honor that lineage, that it comes from Black people.”

Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor