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March 19, 2009



I think you mean Pharoah Sanders, not Saunders.

Brad Nelson

Great post on my favorite jazz guitarist. I actually wrote (prepare for rapid shame loss) a blog about Last Exit and their particular hold on me, and despite my boundless love for Brotzmann, Sharrock gets most of my appreciation in that group, for all those dark guitar apocalypses he let gallop from his soul.


Great piece! I go on and on about Sharrock to any jazzbos I run into - it was an article in the lamented Motorbooty magazine that let me in on his identity, but before that, it was hearing his possessed demonic noize solo rip through the tight funky groove of Herbie Mann's Hold On - I'm Comin' that really knocked me sideways. An unjustly neglected talent.


I love Bill Laswell's remix of Sonny Sharrock and Eddie "Funkadelic" Hazel on Peace from the the album Axiom Ambient: Lost in the Translation, an all-around great album. Sharrock's solo comes from Ask The Ages album, Hazel's from Maggot Brain.


Thanks for this---I remember first finding out about Sonny Sharrock in Valarie Wilmer's book "As Serious As Your Life". He really tapped into the sound-as-texture approach of playing the guitar in beautiful ways.

Ghost Writer

You may say that "Ask the Ages" was Sharrock's crowning achievement, but I think most people would say that it was "Space Ghost Coast to Coast."


His 1969 record -Black Woman- is great, too (and it's even currently in print on CD).

DJ ManRich

His return album Guitar is really under-rated. I think it's the link between his early, funky Jazz albums with then-wife Linda and his masterpiece Ask the Ages.
Laswell's a saint for coaxing him out of retirement, IMHO.


amazing Herbie Mann video- Miroslav Vitous is the tallest bass player ever,
and Steve Marcus on Sax-WHEW! was that Roy Haynes on drums?? Sonny was amazing-
tho when i was 14 in '72 i bought a record collection from a guy moving to the middle east-
it had a bunch of BYG actuel stuff- including Sonny Sharrock "Monkey Pockie Boo"-
i couldnt stand it, altho i could easily sit thru the 3 disc alan silva set....
funny, but i think some of Sonny's music was the best ever. :)


Bruno Carr on drums, I think.

fred g sanford

I love that CD with the Orange -ish pic on the cover that i picked up at Other Music back in 19??
argh , forget it


Sonny was amazing. I remember being at the college radio station when his Guitar album came in. One listen and I was hooked. I quickly became acquainted with Last Exit and went back into the vaults for Material--the Memory Serves album in particular. And yes, Ask the Ages was AWESOME. Space Ghost dedicated a whole episode to his passing, with Thurston Moore as the "guest."


Miles Davis had one of the most supremely badass guitarists that ever walked this earth in Pete Cosey. (Is it the absence of hagiographic repackaging a la Bill Laswell that hinders Cosey from achieving the reputation THIS MAN DESERVES?!?)

And, though not as technically advanced as Pete Cosey, Reggie Lucas is also owed respect for his interlocking, time-stretching, and occasionally fire-breathing fretwork alongside Cosey.

John McLaughlin, with his most odorous spiritual urges bottled up, aint too shabby, either.

Really, what (guitarwise) could anyone be longing for in MD's music from 1969-1975?


Funny to see this now-- I've been listening to "Ask The Ages" non-stop in my car for the past week. My drummer gave me a copy, I hadn't heard it since it came out, had forgotten how good it is. That "Live In New York" cd has a few great cuts on it ("Uncle Herbie's Dance" among them, wonder if that's dedicated to Herbie Mann).

I recall an interview with Sonny where he mentioned his time with Herbie Mann. Once they did a show overlooking a marina, where people sat on their boats and listened to the main set of Herbie's soul-jazz, then Herbie was nice enough to give Sonny a solo set of free improvisation as an encore . . . and one by one all the boats started raising anchor and leaving the marina. Philistines!


I saw a show of Sonny's right around the release of Ask the Ages, and it was totally one of the most memorable gigs ever for me.

Dieter Kramer

Thanks for this great post, the Herbie mann one is very choice. His recording with Sharrock of London Underground on the Newport live album is 100% pure smoke!

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