Vernon Reid's Band of Gypsies Revisited to perform

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BRATTLEBORO — On New Year's Eve of 1969 and New Year's Day 1970, Jimi Hendrix took the stage at the Fillmore East in New York City with bassist Billy Cox and bassist Buddy Miles and made rock history.

A project headlined by Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid, celebrating those monumental concerts, touches down at The Stone Church tonight.

Vernon Reid's Band of Gypsies Revisited, as the project is known, features friends who have known each other since the 1980s: Reid, whose rapid-fire soloing for Living Colour drew comparisons to Hendrix; Andre "Dr Glo" Lassalle on guitar and vocals; James "Biscuit" Rouse on drums and Jared Michael Nickerson on bass.

Together the quartet attacks the songs from those shows, in the spirit of revisiting, refreshing, and further exploring the music.

The Band of Gypsies concert was Hendrix's first excursion free of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the band that catapulted him to superstardom. In it, he shed the psychedelic effects and meticulous studio craft of his Experience albums for a more straight-ahead style, taking its cues from funk, soul, and rhythm and blues. But he did not shed his virtuoso approach, and on the best-known track from the album, "Machine Gun," Hendrix used his guitar to simulate the sounds of the battlefield in Vietnam. Many consider it his finest live performance.

As Vernon Reid's Band of Gypsies Revival's website notes, recent re-releases of the Band of Gypsies concerts reveal that they "never played a tune the same way twice, breaking away from the 'note-by-note' live renditions prevalent in pop and rock hit songs at that time. This 'breaking away' also highlighting [the band's] use of improvisational interplay within the Pop/Rock song structure, which up to that time, had usually been exercised by jazz musicians."

Vernon Reid's Band of Gypsies Revisited is scheduled to perform at 8 tonight at The Stone Church, 210 Main St. Tickets range between $20 and $30 and are on sale at stonechurchvt.com.

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