Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jazz Rock Guitar Geek Rapture #2: Best Power Trio (Plus One) Ever

What I will remember most about Sonny Sharrock - even before the music - will be the laughter, the sense of humor, the fun. We laughed a lot. We laughed at the conditions that we had to tolerate to continue doing creative music. We laughed at the reaction - the response to that music - from the journalists, the audience, even the musicians - the same sad, phony, lost motherfuckers who will show up now to say how great he was. How overlooked and underrated he was. How he could have done so much more... We laughed a lot. But this part is serious. Serious as a heart attack. Peace, Sonny. You gave a lot...more than they'll ever know.

----Bill Laswell, May 30, 1994

Today's loaded question is not "who wrote The Book Of Love?" but who presented the most innovative, most sonically textured, most ridiculously powerful yet subtle and nuanced, most remarkable
scary-virtuoso electric guitar/electric bass/drums amalgam ever assembled?

Hendrix-Mitchell-Redding (or Hendrix-Cox-Miles)? Nope? Page-Bonham-Jones? Terrific band - but I don't think so. Beck-Clarke-Cobham? Great, but isn't even close. Townshend-Entwhistle-Moon? Best of the British Invasion - and no. Fripp-Wetton-Bruford? Akkermann-Havermanns (or Reuter)-Van der Linden? Both fabulous - and no. Zappa-Fowler-Thompson? Never, ever short of amazing, but no cigar.

My answer to today's question links to a Halloween concert at the 1987 Zurich Jazz Festival by self-described "futuristic electronic folk music" guitarist Sonny Sharrock. Here he is, playing a solo as part of the Last Exit band (bassist Bill Laswell, drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson, and saxophonist Peter Brotzmann) in 1988.

The download today's posting links to is the best recording of the '87 lineup of the Sonny Sharrock Band I have heard.

Bassist Melvin Gibbs, and drummers Abe Speller and Pheeroan akLaff join Sonny, a fearless guitarslinger if there ever was one, for an excursion deep into the farthest outposts of that frontier between the often Balkanized genres (jazz fusion, rock, punk, avant-garde). These are intrepid sonic explorers, the real deal, way off the "guitar geek" charts, and a fine antidote to all flavors of corporate focus group researched entertainment.

Gentlemen and ladies, start your downloads:

Sonny Sharrock Live At The Zurich Jazz Festival, Part One

Sonny Sharrock Live At The Zurich Jazz Festival, Part Two

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