Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Review

Ulrich Ellison: Power Of Soul - A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix

UR1

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UK release date 12.12.2021

Let’s face it, Jimi Hendrix was the finished article. Not only was he
regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, but he’s also one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. His charismatic performances were nothing short of breathtaking and let’s also remember he was a top songwriter who constantly evolved.

It’s a very tall order indeed, to meet another artist who can interpret these landmark recordings and somehow meet Hendrix’s elaborate instrumental prowess with energy, passion, power and yet give it his own twist. But, by and large, Ellison has achieved this remarkable feat. Yes, the love pours out for his hero as he helps advance the narrative of Hendrix's singular, solitary genius.

It's a tribute, yes. But, not an emulation, he is a hard-rock auteur
with a soulful style, bringing his own vision to Hendrix's world. Whether it be the galloping blues of "Rock Me Baby" fronted by special guest Chris Farlowe or the iridescent sounding "Angel", which features UK Blues sensation Matt Schofield on additional lead guitar. Ellison's vocals are particularly good, especially on the latter, as he hits some sweet falsetto notes while doing the song justice, as it reverberates with joyous confidence.

It's interesting to note his choice of material too. Yes, there are the evergreens like "Little Wing", where his playful side comes out, quoting some of the original licks but also adding his own flavours and even sticking in a diminished chord, to the usually entrenched chord structure of the tune. It's a delight to listen to, maintaining the essence of the man, yet still being able to be free, unharnessed and expressive.

The North Indian classical intro of "Manic Depression" adds some intrigue with some nifty tabla playing from the drummer, Jason McKenzie, who incidentally lays down a groove (along with bassist Sabine Ellison), which is set in granite for the duration of the album. A tight, well-honed power trio that definitely cuts the mustard.

"May This Be Love" is another particular highlight with Ellison's strident guitar playing, extending the sonic depth and adding density to proceedings. All in all, this project is a pure labour of love that shines through with enthusiasm and utter respect, done with good grace and tasteful playing. Setting the bar high, it's a great set that Feliciano has picked from the master and with his distinctive interpretations, he must be applauded.
Words Emrys Baird

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