Nonconformist violinist Nigel Kennedy has been expanding on his decision to full out of a recent Classic FM concert because he was asked by the organisers to play Vivaldi’s Four Seasons rather than a new interpretation of Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing,
Having previously said that the request amounted to “musical segregation”, Kennedy has now told The Guardian (opens in new tab) that he actually took the decision three weeks ago, in a bid to “stand up for the noise makers”.
He argues that “Hendrix should be talked about like the great composers, man... Beethoven. Bach. Duke Ellington. Stravinsky. Jimi is in that line. Serious motherfuckers!”
Kennedy made his name with his 1989 recording of The Four Seasons, which remains one of the best-selling classical albums of all time. However, he doesn’t place Vivaldi in the same league as Hendrix, calling his music “lighter shit that people can listen to while they’re drinking their coffee.”
In fact, Kennedy believes that Hendrix’s compositional skills are just as impressive as his guitar-playing exploits: “The songs he wrote and forms he took were very different... more free-flowing structure, loosening of the edges. A groundbreaker.”
Kennedy says that his own interpretations of the Hendrix oeuvre are “Kind of folk trance symphonic... I’m starting to sound like that fucker from Spinal Tap. ‘It’s a bit Mozart and a bit Bach and I’m going to call it Mach.’”
Nigel Kennedy will release his memoir, Uncensored, and a three-CD boxset of the same name on 4 November.