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AMERICAN MASTERS: Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’

Airs Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Jimi Hendrix Experience performs at the 1968 Miami Pop Festival. Performance footage from the festival is among the previously unseen treasures featured in AMERICAN MASTERS "Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin'."

A pioneering electric guitarist, Jimi Hendrix (Nov. 27, 1942-Sept. 18, 1970) had only four years of mainstream exposure and recognition, but his influential music and riveting stage presence left an enduring legacy. THIRTEEN’s AMERICAN MASTERS series traces the gone-too-soon guitar great’s remarkable journey from his hardscrabble beginnings in Seattle, through his stint as a U.S. Army paratrooper, unknown sideman to R&B stars such as Little Richard, Joey Dee and the Isley Brothers, and his discovery and ultimate international stardom.

Film Quotes

“I’m thrilled that Jimi Hendrix is joining the AMERICAN MASTERS library,” said Susan Lacy, creator and executive producer of AMERICAN MASTERS. “Hendrix has been on my series wish list since the beginning. Working with Experience Hendrix’s incredible archive we are able to finally do his story justice.”

“'Hear My Train A Comin’ is an in-depth look at the life and legacy of Jimi with his own words as well as the words and memories of those that knew him well and were close to him. His impression on the world through his genius, music and talent continue to magically touch the lives of ensuing generations,” commented Janie Hendrix, president and CEO of Experience Hendrix L.L.C. and Jimi’s sister, who is interviewed in the film.

AMERICAN MASTERS "Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’" premieres nationally Tuesday, November 5, 2013 on PBS. The same day, Experience Hendrix L.L.C. and Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release the expanded home video edition of the AMERICAN MASTERS documentary, with never-before-released special performance features, on DVD and Blu-ray.

"Hear My Train A Comin’" unveils previously unseen performance footage and home movies taken by Hendrix and drummer Mitch Mitchell while sourcing an extensive archive of photographs, drawings, family letters and more to provide new insight into the musician’s personality and genius. Recently uncovered film footage of Hendrix at the 1968 Miami Pop Festival is among the previously unseen treasures featured in "Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’."

A CD and limited edition vinyl set of "Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival," the first-ever release of one of the guitar virtuoso’s most sought-after performances, will also be released November 5.

The first-ever major rock festival staged on the East Coast, the May 1968 Miami Pop Festival at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida, was the first event promoted by Woodstock organizer Michael Lang and Ric O'Barry (dolphin trainer for FLIPPER TV series), who were inspired by the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, where Hendrix made his U.S. debut and famously set fire to his guitar.

Presented as part of a year-long celebration around Hendrix’s 70th birthday year, AMERICAN MASTERS "Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’" uses Hendrix’s own words to tell his story, illustrated through archival interviews and illuminated with commentary from family, well-known friends and musicians, including Paul McCartney, band members Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox, long-time sound engineer Eddie Kramer, Steve Winwood, Vernon Reid, Billy Gibbons, Dweezil Zappa and Dave Mason.

The film also features revealing glimpses into Hendrix and his era through interviews with the three women closest to him: Linda Keith (the girlfriend who introduced Jimi to future manager Chas Chandler), Faye Pridgon (who befriended Hendrix in Harlem in the early 1960s) and Colette Mimram (one of the era’s most influential fashion trendsetters who provided inspiration for Hendrix’s signature look and created such memorable stage costumes as the beaded jacket Hendrix famously wore at Woodstock).

"Hear My Train A Comin’" details the meteoric rise of the Experience, the creation of his groundbreaking music, the building of Electric Lady Studios, his state-of-the-art recording facility in Greenwich Village, and concludes with poignant footage from his final performance in Germany in September 1970, just 12 days before his death at age 27.

Two-time Grammy-winning director Bob Smeaton, whose credits include "Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child," "Hendrix: Band of Gypsys," "Hendrix 70: Live at Woodstock," "Festival Express" and "The Beatles Anthology," shows a side of Hendrix less frequently explored in AMERICAN MASTERS "Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’." Smeaton explains, “Jimi loved two things: women and playing guitar and that’s what Linda, Faye and Colette all told us. These women shed a totally different light on him than the guys who saw him onstage.”

AMERICAN MASTERS "Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’" is a production of Fuse Films and THIRTEEN's AMERICAN MASTERS in association with WNET. Bob Smeaton is director. Susan Lacy is AMERICAN MASTERS series creator and executive producer.

Preview of Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin’

Along with clips of Jimi Hendrix performing, this preview includes Hendrix's thoughts on his self-expression, and interviews with Paul McCartney, Steve Winwood and Linda Keith on Hendrix's mesmerizing showmanship on stage. Hear My Train A Comin’, the documentary unveiling previously unseen performance footage such as the 1968 Miami Pop Festival, premieres November 5, 2013. Directed by Bob Smeaton.

Janie Hendrix Interview

In this outtake interview from Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin', Janie Hendrix, Jimi Hendrix's adopted sister, fondly recalls her shy but playful older brother and the jokes he would quietly let her in on at the family dinner table. She also recounts the painful day her family found out that Jimi had died.

Interview with Director Bob Smeaton

Director Bob Smeaton talks about the making of Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin' for American Masters. He shares the excitement of finding the previously unseen Miami Pop Festival footage and home movies by Jimi Hendrix and Mitch Mitchell, and describes how those who knew him from his days as a budding guitarist reveal the man behind the rock star image.

Architect Interview: Jimi Hendrix's Electric Lady Studios

Architect and acoustic designer John Storyk talks about designing clubs in New York City and working with Jimi Hendrix to build Electric Lady Studios. Hendrix originally hired Storyk to design a club, but sound engineer Eddie Kramer convinced Hendrix to make a recording studio instead. Storyk built a legendary, state-of-the-art recording studio, following Hendrix's concepts and directions.