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Live in New York

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Album Review

Recorded live at the old Knitting Factory in New York City, this disc showcases the late Sonny Sharrock in his garage-y rock band incarnation, a different kettle of fish for those familiar with his early jazz roles or his later incendiary work with Last Exit. The results are better than his earlier, more obscure trio date on Marge largely due to the far superior rhythm section of bassist Melvin Gibbs and drummers Abe Speller and Pheeroan akLaff, but they're also marred by Dave Snyder's schlocky keyboards and Ron Cartel's pedestrian vocals on two of the pieces. Sharrock seemed to vacillate throughout his career between the ecstatic free jazz epiphanies he produced in the '60s with Pharoah Sanders (or in the '80s along with his partner Peter Brötzmann) and the simpler, bluesier feel of bands like this one. If what you're after is an above-average bar band with an at times amazing guitarist and a consistently solid rhythm section, Live in New York will do just fine. Listeners who came to expect something on a more inspired level will have to content themselves with nearly contemporary albums like his solo venture (also on Enemy) or the stellar Ask the Ages.


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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Live in New York, Sonny Sharrock Band
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