The legacy of Jimi Hendrix’s estate has been in conflict in recent years. Since his father’s death in 2002, his siblings have squabbled over his money and battled unlicensed and bootleg venders. But Hendrix’s musical legacy continues to amaze and inspire, as Janie Hendrix—his stepsister and CEO of the company that manages his music—has released album after album of rarities over the last couple decades. Not all of these releases have pleased Hendrix fans, who have called some of them mercenary and thoughtless. But it is always a joy to discover an unheard recording, whether a live performance, wobbly studio outtake, or semi-polished demo, so many of which reveal the territory Hendrix intended to chart before he died.
In 1982, some of that unreleased material made it into a four-hour Pacifica Radio documentary, which you can hear in four parts here. Produced by what the station calls “some of Pacifica’s finest” at its Berkeley “flagship station 94.1 FM,” the documentary does an excellent job of placing these recordings in context. With help from Hendrix biographer David Henderson, the producers compiled “previously unheard and rare recordings” and interviews from Hendrix, his family, Noel Redding, Ornette Coleman, Stevie Wonder, John Lee Hooker, John McLaughlin, Chas Chandler, and more. After a newly-recorded introduction and a collage of Hendrix interview soundbites, Part 1 gets right down to it with a live version of “Are You Experienced?” that pulses from the speakers in hypnotic waves (listen to it on a solid pair of headphones if you can).