Mitch Mitchell, the influential drummer of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was found dead earlier today in his Portland, Oregon hotel room. He was 61.
Personally, he's one of my all-time favorite drummers. His blending of jazz and rock styles, and his playing of the drums as a lead instrument, both had lasting impacts on the world of drumming and on my own drumming in particular. Whether it was his jazzy swing groove on "Manic Depression," his spastic, funky snare hits on "Fire," or his soulful blues fills on "Little Wing," Mitch Mitchell played some of the most important 60's-era rock beats of all-time. He will be missed.
[Also, sort of a related FYI: this Monday will mark the 40th anniversary of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's show at Yale's Woolsey Hall. More on that Monday.]