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Sonny Sharrock

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Ossining, New York NY, United States (1940 – 1994)

Sonny Sharrock (Warren Harding Sharrock; August 27, 1940–May 25, 1994) was an American . He was once married to singer Linda Sharrock, with whom he sometimes recorded and performed.

One of few guitarists in the first wave of in the 1960s, Sharrock was known for his incisive, heavily chorded attack, his bursts of wild feedback, and for his use of saxophone-like lines played loudly on guitar. He had in fact wanted to play tenor saxophone from his youth after hearing John Coltrane play on Miles Davis’ album Kind of Blue on the radio at age 19, but his asthma prohibited it. However Sharrock had repeatedly said that he still considered himself “a horn player with a really f***ed up axe.”

Sharrock began his musical career singing as a teenager. He worked with Pharoah Sanders and Alexander Solla in the late 1960s, appearing first on Sanders’s 1966 release Tauhid. He collaborated several times with flautist Herbie Mann and also appeared uncredited on Miles DavisA Tribute to Jack Johnson, arguably his most famous collaboration.

Three albums under Sharrock’s name were released in the late ’60s through the mid-’70s: Black Woman, Monkey-Pockie-Boo, and an album co-credited to both Sonny and his wife Linda, Paradise, though Sharrock believed the album was embarrassingly bad and argued against its reissue). After the release of Paradise, Sharrock was semi-retired for much of the 1970s, undergoing a divorce from wife/occasional collaborator Linda in 1978.

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