Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sonny Sharrock - Guitar (Enemy Records, 1986)

Sonny Sharrock was a man of immense talent and vast creative vision, a sideman in the 60's, performing on Pharoah Sanders' Tauhib and more famously on Miles Davis' Tribute to Jack Johnson.

Sharrock's use of guitar was uncommon in the early years of free jazz. He would skronk out lines like a sax and was well-known for his use of feedback. In fact, he had wanted to play saxophone due to an obsession with John Coltrane but his asthma wouldn't allow. Many times you could hear him say, "I'm just a sax player with a fucked-up axe."

That "fucked-up axe" on this album re-introduced the guitarist to the world as a solo performer. It consists of a man, his guitar and a bunch of pedals on the floor in front of him, overdubbing to create his own distinct blending of jazz, blues, funk and heavy psychedelic. This type performance is commonplace in today's experimental music communities but remember that it was not in 1986.

If you feel this album, check out Ask the Ages, his record with Coltrane bandmates Pharoah Sanders and Elvin Jones, which is Sharrock's finest hour.

Get Guitar Here

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