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                                                     The Wizard of BiaB

Band-in-a-Box (BiaB) has proven to be THE musician’s tool for improvising, songwriting, learning, and virtually anything else. Their incredible team manages to make wonderful improvements every year. And while it is no slight at all towards this amazing company, the “Wizard” I am referring to is not an employee.

Stelios Panos (the Wizard) is a content creator. Of course BiaB is completely incredible as is, but external musicians can add songs to those supplied by BiaB, to add new genres, for teaching purposes, etc. Stelios has created an amazing repertoire of great guitar jazz, and rather than a ‘magic’ wizard he is better described as a virtuoso, one who creates by expertise and lots of hard work. I have written about his fantastically accurate transcriptions of the jazz guitar greats in both print and on this blog, and said that all of his work has my highest recommendation. Well, he has outdone even himself with his latest set: JiaB, that is Jimi (Hendrix)-in-a-Box. In fact, when I first got a copy, I spent most of the morning just playing through JiaB tracks and listening while watching the transcriptions! I had to stop (I almost forgot lunch).

This incredible work of passion is the pinnacle of Stelios’ work as a virtuoso. This HUGE project, which took a year of work, includes all of Hendrix’s songs including live performances and even a few bootleg tracks. Mr. Panos knows his tool intricately, stretching BiaB’s capabilities to their extremes. Each song is divided into tracks for each instrument, just as the studio tapes are. Instruments are included in two forms: as .WAV files for perfect reproduction, and as MIDI files which can be examined for detail and edited if desired. Notation is included, as well as TAB, and accurate lyrics. And of course Jimi’s singing as well as any background parts round out the amazing sound.

Just having this collection of Jimi Hendrix’s music is a great listening treasure. Even greater for guitarists (and bassists and drummers) is the ability to study any song, instrument by instrument, and even slow down the music to learn this classic collection. You even have the option of tuning down to Eb (as Jimi tuned), or tuning them up to play in standard (E) tuning.

I have run out of superlatives for this truly amazing work.