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Nakai News- Who should be in the Hall?

Daytona Beach News-Journal / Nov. 23, 2008
Who should be in the Hall?
By: Rick de Yampert (Entertainment Writer)
Who should be the first inductees into an American Music Hall of Fame?

How do you choose an inaugural class of, say, five music artists among W.C. Handy, Duke Ellington, Leonard Bernstein, Hank Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Bessie Smith, Aaron Copland, Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Patsy Cline, Marian Anderson, Johnny Cash and . . . ?

This music critic’s choice for the one indispensable inaugural inductee: Jimi Hendrix.

Whatever the criteria for membership may be — American birth, genius in composition and performance, “embodying” the American spirit, technical prowess on an instrument, redefining American art and culture — Hendrix will personify them.

The Seattle-born artist cast voodoo over his electric guitar’s six strings and returned with achingly poetic ballads (“Wind Cries Mary,” “Castles Made of Sand”) and mutant soundscapes utterly unlike anything previously heard in this universe (“Are You Experienced?,” “Third Stone From the Sun”).

And Jimi reached deep into the dark soul of America and conjured the most stunning version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” ever experienced.

Any such hall of fame also must recognize the lesser-known artists and others who have made American music what it is. Among them:

*Native American flute player  R. Carlos Nakai. Of Navajo-Ute heritage, Nakai not only has revived the music traditions of America’s native peoples, but he’s also taken those traditions and fused them with classical, jazz and world music.

*John and Alan Lomax. In the 1930s and ’40s, this father and son traversed this land, especially the southern states, to make more than 10,000 field recordings of blues, children’s songs, cowboy songs, fiddle tunes, field hollers, lullabies, folk tunes, spirituals and more.

*Les Paul. When Paul created “the Log” in 1941, he didn’t invent the electric guitar — but his electronic wizardry helped create the solid-body electric guitar that made rock possible.
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