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CARL HOLMES AND THE COMMANDERS

Jimi played with Carl Holmes and the Commanders at the Cheetah in New York City, as far as known only for this one engagement.

Thursday 19 May - Wednesday 1 June 1966 with Carl Holmes and the Commanders
Cheetah, New York City, New York
The Soul Searchers, Carl Holmes and the Commanders.


Richie Havens (and another eyewitness1) saw Jimi at the Cheetah with Carl Holmes and the Commanders:
"There was this dance club owned by these guys from France, and I played there with my jam band. One night when I wasn’t working there, I went to party there and saw this band Carl Holmes and the Commanders and I couldn’t stop watching their guitar player, who seemed to be playing with his teeth."  3

"This guy came from France and opened the biggest discotheque with live music that New York had ever seen. It was called The Cheetah. We actually opened the club. I had a jam band and I brought all my buddies for the audition and we actually got the job. At the time, I had made my first album already and my manager thought I was nuts. He thought I was just about to go crazy, having seven people playing on stage. What happened was that we worked there for two weeks, then I went back there to dance, because that's what it was all about. I was going to go back and party and have a good time ... The band that was playing was a rhythm and blues band in which Jimi Hendrix was the guitarist. When I talked to him, right after he got off stage - I saw him biting the guitar then and I didn't know what the heck he was doing ... - I ran backstage and said, 'Man, you are so great. Where the hell have you been all my life?' I said, 'How long you been playing with these guys?' He goes, 'Just today. I got the job through the union.' I was in the union for two years - I didn't even know the union gave guitar players jobs ... I said, 'You don't need any job from the union. You got to go down to the Village, man, there's lots of kids down there who want to play and you can have your own damn band!' Three weeks later, I'm in the Village and a friend of mine says, 'You got to hear this band around the corner, Jimmy James and the Blue Flame.'"  2

Cash Box 28 May 1966:
"Carl Holmes and the Commanders, who have played at President Johnson`s Inaugral Ball, are into the frenzied pace at Cheetah, where they`ll remain for the next two weeks. From the nightspot they will launch a tour of Europe."

Cash Box 11 June 1966:
"Carl Holmes and the Commanders, who have been breaking up the Cheetah for the last couple of weeks, are off to Monte Carlo for the anniversary festival and then onto the Olympia, Paris, for two weeks".

See the Jimi Hendrix And Cheetah -section for more info.




SOURCES
1 Jim Eigo mentions seeing Jimi with the Commanders at Cheetah: "My 49th and Bway journey continued across the street on the South East Corner. That was the site of the first psychedelic night club in NYC The Cheetah Club. This is the first time I saw Jimi Hendrix in 1966 playing with Carl Holmes and the Commanders." jimweigo.com and "Way back in 1966 I saw Jimi Hendrix before we even knew who Jimi Hendrix was. I saw him with Carl Holmes and Commanders at the Cheetah Club,  49th and Broadway in NYC. I didn’t make the connection until I saw him at the Fillmore East with The Experience and Sly and the Family Stone did I realize that was the same cat." www.goldminemag.com

2 Interview with Richie Havens by Philip H. Farber published on dailyfreeman.com 31 March 2001

3 Interview with Richie Havens published on phillymag.com 9 January 2008