Conservative. Shy. Joined the military. A dutiful son who wrote faithfully to his father for years. These descriptions are not what
usually come to mind when
discussing Jimi Hendrix.
The guitar virtuoso and musical meteor gets his own "Ameri can Masters" profile on "Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train a Comin'" (9 p.m., PBS).
Long associated with outlandish clothes and shocking performances at massive concerts, Hendrix emerges here as a rather reserved individual, fully aware that words and conversation were not his medium. He let his guitar do the talking.
As a boy, Hendrix always had his guitar by his side. He even took his guitar with him when he joined the military to parachute with the 101st Airborne Division. A broken ankle got him mustered out and allowed him to apprentice as a side guitarist for bands, including the Isley Brothers, as they traveled the country, playing mostly black clubs.
These experiences allowed him to synthesize, reinvent and personalize the sounds of other musicians and adapt some of the outlandish showmanship that would become his signature.
An American original, Hen-
drix was first appreciated by English musicians and their hangers-on. Within months of being discovered by a girlfriend of Keith Richards and a former member of the Animals, Hen-
drix would be the toast of the London club scene, where he was anointed as the act to see by the likes of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger. For a time he borrowed Ringo Starr's apartment.
The more familiar and well-documented footage of Hendrix at Monterey Pop and Woodstock represent the least interesting moments of "Train." The most revealing and rewarding come in the form of
interview footage with a self-conscious introvert. When a fawning Dick Cavett calls him "the greatest guitarist in the world," Hendrix suggests he is simply the best guitarist "sitting in this chair."
This "American Masters" piece reminds us that he flashed from obscurity to
eternity in the space of four years. He'd be 70 now (born Nov. 27, 1942), had he lived.
---"The African Ameri cans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr." (8 p.m., PBS) looks at 1861-1896, the years between of the Civil War and the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court
decision that institutionalized segregation. The actual history of this era often collides with the Hollywood version of events found in films like "Birth of a Nation" and "Gone with the Wind."
---Country music stars discuss their music and more on "In the Spotlight with Robin Roberts: Countdown to the CMA Awards" (10 p.m., ABC).
---Miss this summer's "Sharknado" experience on Syfy? Binge away, as it begins streaming on Netflix today.
---TV-themed DVDs available today include: "Absolute ly Fabulous: Absolutely All of it!"
---Floating evidence scrambles the team on "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---Luke remains in denial on "Ravenswood" (8 p.m., ABC Family, TV-14).
---Jake faces a ticking clock on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (8:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---Hypnotic evidence on "Person of Interest" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---New revelations leave Jax
bewildered on "Sons of Anarchy" (10 p.m., FX, TV-MA).
A widowed schemer (Vivien Leigh) drapes herself all over her sister's beau in 1939's "Gone with the Wind" (10:15 p.m., TCM).
---Gibbs needs family time on "NCIS" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).
---Pounds and tears shed on "The Biggest Loser" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
---A bedbug infestation on "Dads" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---Klaus protects Haley on "The Originals" (8 p.m., CW, TV-PG).
---A threat to mass transit on "NCIS: Los Angeles" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Coach returns on "New Girl" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---Barry neglects his mother's advice on "The Goldbergs" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---Animal communication on "Supernatural" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14).
---Party crashing on "Trophy Wife" (9:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---Letting go on "The Mindy
Project" (9:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---John Goodman is on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" (11 p.m., Comedy Central).
---David Mizejewski and Artie Lange appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS).
---Stephen Amell and Jessimae Peluso are booked on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!).
---Kathy Griffin, Bruce McCall and J. Cole appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
---Jay Leno welcomes Liam Hemsworth, JB Smoove and the Rides featuring Stephen Stills and Kenny Wayne Shepherd on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Demi Lovato, Mark Consuelos and St. Lucia appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:35 p.m., ABC).
---Lucy Liu and Giada De Laurentiis visit "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts Kevin Kline and Jenna Dewan-Tatum on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.