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After decades of litigation, a deal has finally been struck between Experience Hendrix LLC, the Hendrix family music company which owns and administers the Jimi Hendrix music rights, and Legacy Recordings, the catalog wing of Sony Music Entertainment, in respect of some early master recordings.
The recordings date from 1965-’67 and cover the two-year period when Hendrix was moonlighting as a session guitarist with New York-based R&B act Curtis Knight & the Squires.
The deal between Experience Hendrix LLC and Legacy Recordings is for the full and complete rights to 88 studio and live recordings by Curtis Knight & the Squires (featuring Jimi Hendrix) and concludes a long-running legal dispute between the Hendrix estate and onetime rights holder Ed Chalpin. Terms were not disclosed. Hendrix’s long-time sound engineer Eddie Kramer will oversee the reissues, which will be released by Legacy Recordings over the next three years.
Chalpin was an entrepreneur, record producer and founder of music company PPX International. Having been introduced to Hendrix by Curtis Knight, in 1965 Chalpin signed Jimi (then “Jimmy”) Hendrix and Curtis Knight & the Squires to a notorious three-year recording contract for the princely sum of $1.00 and a 1% royalty rate.
Just before Hendrix went to England and became a global solo star, his manager, Chas Chandler, bought out every contract that his client had previously signed, with the exception of Hendrix’s 1965 agreement with PPX. It would prove a costly oversight and became the source of a long-running legal dispute.
In 2001, Experience Hendrix LLC filed a lawsuit in the British High Court against Chalpin and PPX Enterprises to enforce a 1973 decree, which limited Chalpin’s rights in Hendrix recordings to 33 masters largely recorded in 1965 when the guitarist was performing with Curtis Knight & the Squires.
That lawsuit was upheld in July 2002 with a London High Court order which stated: “Ed Chalpin/PPX Enterprises Inc. must not issue or release recordings on which Jimi Hendrix performed in any capacity whatsoever (other than 33 songs with Jimi Hendrix as a sideman).”
A New York State Court upheld the U.K. court’s decision in 2003. Several years later, in 2007, Experience Hendrix LLX obtained a stipulated court order of almost $900,000 against Chalpin.
Today’s announcement marks the end of the lengthy legal dispute with all 88 tracks recorded by Curtis Knight & the Squires featuring Jimi Hendrix now under complete ownership and control of Experience Hendrix LLC.
The good news for Hendrix fans is that the historic recordings — which include a famous live performance at George’s Club 20 in Hackensack, New Jersey, on December 26, 1965, as well as studio tracks cut by Curtis Knight & the Squires with Hendrix in July 1967 (several months after the May release of Are You Experienced that same year) — will now be remastered and released in definitive new editions.
This story originally appeared on Billboard.com.
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