Sonny Sharrock – Black Woman

Black Woman

Sonny SharrockBlack Woman Vortex 2014 (1969)

There was no hesitation in Sonny (& Linda) Sharrock’s debut album Black Woman.  It is an album so wonderfully a part of the late 1960s.  In that post-’68 time period, this feeling was about that there was no need for hesitation.  Call it naive, call it short-sighted.  What certainly did happen then was something that in the next 40 years never had such momentum.  Truth be told, Sharrock only got better as a guitarist from here on out.  But the psychedelic, free-spirited guitar and awesome (mostly) wordless shrieks from Linda really go where few if any had gone before in jazz.  Here was music that recalled folk, blues, gospel and other bits and pieces of the Afro-American vernacular without submitting to any genre constraints.  And how is this for a song title: “Portrait of Linda in Three Colors, All Black”!?  “Blind Willie”, a tribute to Blind Willie Johnson, would show up again in a new form on Sharrock’s Guitar album.  The music here bears some resemblances to that of Don Cherry (Sonny played with him around this time) minus the non-Western influences.  This is an album — especially side two — that should put a smile on your face.  And that is its biggest triumph.