December 12, 2023

Sonny Sharrock

A truly free jazz player!

Sonny Sharrock was an American Jazz player, one of few guitarists in the first wave of free jazz in the 60s. He was known for his heavily chorded attack and his highly amplified bursts of feedback.

A peculiar thing was having a saxophone playing in harmony with the guitar line on a lot of tracks, something that sounds really awesome.

Sharrock was semi-retired for much of the 1970s, undergoing a divorce from wife/occasional collaborator Linda in 1978. In the intermittent years until producer/bassist Bill Laswell coaxed him out of retirement, he worked as both a chauffeur and a caretaker for mentally challenged children.

The first music I heard from Sonny was from his ‘Ask the ages’ album from 1991, the track was Once upon a time which starts with some kind of tribal drumming, and then Sonny comes into place with some strange riffs. At first I was… man, this is too weird… and it is, that whole track is super strange, but then I found that that is what free jazz is about. And then I listened to Who does she hope to be and that was a completely different story – super mellow track with brushes on the skins and a beautiful melody played by the guitar and saxophone, simply beautiful.

Check it out:

Sonny was a unique character, he had the nicest songs ever, like the ones above, but he also had something more, something totally different and not enjoyable for most people.

What do you think? Only Sonny Sharrock eh?

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