“I didn’t want to become a cover band playing Purple Haze or Hey Joe – I took the deeper cuts and put my own spin on it”: He organized Jimi Hendrix’s 80th birthday party, now Marcus Machado is taking rock, funk and soul guitar into new territory

Markus Machado
(Image credit: Ogata Photo)

Learning the songs of Jimi Hendrix is a rite of passage for guitar players as they woodshed and work to master the instrument. But some get there earlier than others – like Marcus Machado, who treated students and parents at his own kindergarten graduation to a cover of The Wind Cries Mary.

For the legend’s 80th birthday in 2022, he organized a sold-out celebration of his music at Cafe Wha?, the Greenwich Village spot where Chas Chandler discovered Hendrix in 1966. Machado recruited musicians like Juma Sultan, a percussionist who played with Hendrix at Woodstock, and curated a set heavy on songs from his Band of Gypsys era. 

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Jim Beaugez

Jim Beaugez has written about music for Rolling Stone, Smithsonian, Guitar World, Guitar Player and many other publications. He created My Life in Five Riffs, a multimedia documentary series for Guitar Player that traces contemporary artists back to their sources of inspiration, and previously spent a decade in the musical instruments industry.