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Album Review

This is pure, undiluted Sonny Sharrock. Taking advantage of the overdubbing process, Sharrock accompanies himself in a series of duets that demonstrate the range of his playing, from menacing to tender. The songs are fairly simple; a brief introduction and chord statement lays the foundation, then Sharrock flies about on top of it. The purity of his tone is both powerful and beautiful. "Broken Toys" is almost like a lullaby after the flying shrapnel of "Devils Doll Baby," where Sharrock shows off his dizzying, visceral slide guitar technique. "Black Bottom" is his take on the blues. "Princess Sonata" is a beautiful suite that encompasses all these aspects of his playing. Guitar makes a nice counterpoint to both Seize the Rainbow, a more rock-oriented release, and Ask the Ages, his reunion with Pharoah Sanders. Bill Laswell deserves some credit for revitalizing Sharrock's career in the '80s, and for sympathetic production on all three of these recordings. Guitar is a beautiful statement by one of jazz music's most unique voices.


Born: 27 August 1940 in Ossining, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Of the electric guitar's few proponents in avant-garde jazz, Sonny Sharrock is easily the most influential; he was one of the earliest guitarists to even attempt free playing, along with Derek Bailey and Sonny Greenwich. Sharrock's visceral aggression and monolithic sheets of noise were influenced by the screaming overtones of saxophonists like Coltrane, Sanders, and Ayler, and his experiments with distortion and feedback predated even Jimi Hendrix. Naturally, he provoked much hostility among traditionalists,...
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Guitar, Sonny Sharrock
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