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The Jimi Hendrix Project
Third Stone From The Sun
The Jimi Hendrix Project

What do you get when bring together four seasoned professional musicians
with an idea to interpret the music of Jimi Hendrix in a jazz format?
You get a set of amazing jazz renditions of some of the most influential music ever recorded, and The New York Optimist was at
The Iridium
Jazz club on 51st street and Broadway in Manhattan last month to witness this unique performance.
I had the chance to interview Donald Edwards the percussionist from the group to get a better insight on this amazing musical project.

TNYO: Donald Edwards thank you for giving us this interview first question I would like to ask why are you a drummer? How long have you been a drummer
/ professional musician?   

Donald Edwards: Whoa - well that’s always a hard question, I try to separate the serious years from the not so serious years, I guess you could say
professionally 20 years.

TNYO: I couldn’t help but notice that the Jimi Hendrix Project consisted of a tightly knit set of Jimi Hendrix renditions was that the main purpose of this show?

Donald Edwards: Yes the Project was our interpretation of his music.

TNYO: I brought my brother to the show he is a rhythm guitarist and he was transfixed on your percussion I have to agree you’re an incredible drummer.

Donald Edwards: Wow now that’s a compliment.

TNYO: Sure is you deserve it, sounded like a combination of jazz, rock, and easy riding rhythmic drumming.

Donald Edwards: Even Jimi Hendrix’s drummer Mitch Mitchell was, well you know they were doing the rock thing but he was a jazz cat at heart he dabbled in
the jazz a little bit so ya you know he had both sides also.

TNYO: Have you been together for a long time as a band?

Donald Edwards: No that was the first project actually and it was a request of the manager at The Iridium who books the bands, he went to George and
said could you put together a Hendrix project. George began arranging the music he put together one rehearsal and it went better then we expected.

TNYO: Wow one rehearsal and then you did the show.

Donald Edwards: Yes we rehearsed it the night before.

TNYO: Pros!! Can you tell me a little bit about the guitarist Jerome Harris?

Donald Edwards: Donald Edwards: I don’t really know a lot about him
but I know he’s played with
Jack Dejohnette, basically that was Jack Dejohnettes band, and Jerome and the other musicians have all played in Jack
Dejohnettes band. (He plays guitar. he plays bass. he also sings!) he’s the kind of guy you want in your band cause he can do anything and he’s just a
really great musician.

TNYO: Do you play with a lot of different bands - are you a studio musician?

Donald Edwards: Actually I own a recording studio and yes I play with a few bands.
I tour around with different groups and do straight ahead jazz, some funk stuff.

TNYO: Will The Jimi Hendrix Project play another show anytime soon?

Donald Edwards: Yes we will. George was looking into what we did and is figuring out if its something people would really want to check out.

TNYO: I noticed the guitarist was sticking to traditional jazz riffs although he sounded amazing I would have thought being Jimi Hendrix influenced he might
of went more with that sonic distorted sound Jimi was famous for.

Donald Edwards: Well that was the whole idea, to do Hendrix’s music in the realms of what we do. I think Jerome is a jazz musician, were all jazz musicians
and we play a lot of Jazz but we all come from other backgrounds and have listened to a lot of different kinds of music. The whole idea was to keep that jazz
flavor in the music  - the abstract part of it and Jerome helped us achieve that.
He kept the jazz flavor but kept that edgy gritty Hendrix feeling.

TNYO: Is there anything that directly connected you guys to Hendrix or did you pick the songs and say lets do this set.

Donald Edwards: I think George listened to a lot of Jimi’s music and I think he chose the songs that would work well with what we do. Although Hendrix
probably didn’t approach it this way I think Hendrix may have been thinking about or hearing it. Its definitely part of his music he has a bluesy and Jazzy
side to his music, and maybe George chose the songs accordingly to bring that side of it across.

TNYO: I play guitar too I was thinking that If I were to do this kind of approach to his music I would have added some sound effects to the guitar, Jerome
kept the sound clean.

Donald Edwards: Well it was the first gig; I think after listening to it we may say this is what we may like to do with it next time.

TNYO: The sound totally worked it was a great show.
Just a few more questions, Music – what are your plans with it, is this what you will be doing fro the rest of your life?

Donald Edwards: Yes, I have been supporting myself (playing music) and I have been for a long time.
There are other aspects as well; as I said before I have my own recording studio I do a lot of production. There are a lot of different facets of this industry
that I have got involved in. I am also involved in a project where I am the link between a European promoter and American musicians. I present musicians to
different promoters for
many projects.

We ended the interview here as Donald was headed to Japan with his trio to thrill the peoples on the other side of the planet but I definitely recommend you
stay tuned to these musician’s websites to see any news on any upcoming shows in your town.
And of course tune in weekly here to as we will surely be keeping track of these artists.