Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sheets of (guitar) sound

Free jazz guitarist Sonny Sharrock's 1969 recording "Black Woman," just reissued on the Water label, opens with a title track that's kind of an acid spiritual and then goes into "Peanut," which makes me think of Albert Ayler without the saxophone. The "horn" here is the wordless vocalizing of Sharrock's then-wife Linda Sharrock, who moans, screeches and otherwise belts out abstracted instrumental sounds through most of the disk.

Meanwhile, Sharrock, stellar pianist Dave Burrell and the rest of the cast produce fine avant-garde jazz underneath and around Linda Sharrock's vocal forays with roots in traditional African music, the blues and Spanish guitar, among other influences I can discern. It's an interesting CD, if short at 31 minutes, although I have to say the voice stuff annoyed me in spots. The instrumental side, Sonny Sharrock's Coltrane-like sound sheets for guitar not the least, is nifty enough, however, that I suspect it will grow on me.

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