Branford Marsalis :
Saxophonist-composer from jazz’s first family.
As a kid I remember hearing “Purple Haze” on the radio but I didn’t really think of it as anything really earth-shattering. But the Band of Gypsys—now that was earth-shattering! At the time I couldn’t think of why it spoke to me but it did, immediately. First of all, it’s live performance so it’s not a bunch of overdubs after overdub after overdub. And it was at that line where rock ’n’ roll could still be free, and that’s the thing that I dug the most. The shit was just funky the way Led Zeppelin was funky and the way The Beatles had a little groove to their shit, too. But those two groups never could get their bottom to have that funky-ass stank groove the way the Band of Gypsys did. Listening to Mitch Mitchell [with the Experience] it was clear that he was coming from a jazz background, particularly an Elvin Jones thing with all those triplets over everything. But listening to Buddy Miles just keep that pocket was really staggering shit for me. That doesn’t mean I didn’t dig the other shit like “If 6 Was 9” and “Manic Depression.” I dug it, believe me. But Band of Gypsys affected me in a much more powerful way. I would suspect that just by the energy on the stage that he really had fun with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles. Because, you know, if he had been playing with Buddy Miles from the beginning, songs like “Manic Depression” would not have worked. I don’t think Buddy Miles would know what a 12/8 feel was if it fell on him. But I think at the end of the day, Jimi was a groover, which is why songs like “Who Knows?” and “Machine Gun” are so killing. I mean, you gotta be deep in the pocket for that shit to work. Those were his roots, and he smokes on that record.
Hendrix might have had an influence on individual musicians in jazz but he wasn’t a jazz musician himself. I mean, he had an influence on my jazz because everything that I listened to as a kid I think creeps in to the shit that I do now. When I hear Hendrix’s shit today it just reminds me of the blues on acid—hyper, hyper blues. He had all the elements of jazz because you know all the elements of blues are in jazz when it’s played right—spontaneity, creativity, improvisation, the blues itself, groove. He was definitely an improviser but he couldn’t play “How High the Moon.” And he didn’t need to. He always heard some other shit.
I don’t know if Jimi would ever have become a jazz musician. In a lot of respects, jazz probably would’ve been too limiting for him. You know, too many rules and shit. He just wanted to go up there and do whatever the fuck he wanted to do—all the time. Jazz is such a different aesthetic. He would’ve had to go into a serious amount of woodshedding, away from the scene. There’s just so much other shit he would’ve had to come back to—almost like starting from scratch. And I don’t know if he would’ve been able or wanted to do that. Or that he should have. The thing I love about him was he wasn’t a jazz musician but he was a grade A-1 bona fide fucking musician. That couldn’t be disputed. I can understand why Miles, being the forward-thinking cat that he was, particularly in the pop sense of the word—that was very smart of Miles to align himself with a cat like Hendrix. Jimi had his hit with “Purple Haze” but for the most part he was a counterculture cat, the fringe dude that all of the other cats went to check out, including Miles.
Source : http://jazztimes.com/articles/20150-jimi-hendrix-modern-jazz-axis