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Ask the Ages

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iTunes Review

The last album Sonny Sharrock released before his premature death at 53, Ask the Ages feels like the culmination of the guitarist’s art, specifically his juxtaposition of opposing elements. Sharrock executes the perfect pairing of his fiery rock guitar and deep jazz composition, and his penchant for wild exorcism (“Once Upon a Time”) is tempered by a poignant lyricism on songs such as “Who Does She Hope To Be?” The band consists of John Coltrane’s legendary drummer Elvin Jones and his tenor apprentice Pharoah Sanders, while Charnett Moffett (son of free-jazz drummer Charles Moffett) forms a bridge to the younger generation. Even as Sharrock draws on the strength of the ‘60s with his band — Coltrane’s influence looms large over “Little Rock” and the devastating “Many Mansions”— his employment of forward-thinking producer Bill Laswell gives the album an audacious atmosphere that is anything but retrograde. As the siren cries of the final song ring out, “As We Used to Sing” forms a triumphant recessional not only for Ask the Ages, but for the entirety of Sharrock’s life and career.

Customer Reviews

good as good gets

Brilliant album by a guitar hero, whose angular noise and sonic jazz-manship are matched by the blasting tenor of Pharoah and the melodic complexity/simplicity of Elvin Jones. Not so many violent shards and shreds, more beautiful and haunting, at least for the themes. Every tune has a memorable head, as the best jazz is usually hum-able (with the exception of the brilliant closing chapters of Coltrane's recordings.) A little bit of everything while sounding profoundly original...hard-bop, surf, heavy-ness, it's all here and it's an amazing encore to Sharrock's life, the man who said it was his determination to make the people in the audience's ears bleed.


SONNY SHARROCK!! i love this cd

cure what ails you

Fiery and beautiful. Racous and thoghtful. Ferocious and tender.


Born: August 27, 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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