Things we like
2) Listening to a bunch of Sonny Sharrock on cassette, CD, and sweet, sweet vinyl, and remembering that the late free jazz guitar master made a bunch of good records between his Bill Laswell-sponsored resurgence with Material and Last Exit and his career-capping masterpiece Ask the Ages (the closest thing to a new Coltrane record we had back in '91, with Elvin Jones and Sonny's '60s employer Pharaoh Sanders in full effect). My sweetie 'n' I unearthed a Phil Overeem-dubbed cassette that included Sonny's overdubbed-solo Guitar -- perhaps the purest example of what he was up to -- along with the rest of our tape hoard. Faith Moves, a duet with Nicky Skopelitis (whom Shannon Jackson credited with coming up with the groove Herbie Hancock used on "Rockit") on a variety of mostly Near Eastern acoustic instruments, puts me in mind of a project I want to do with Da Kobe someday. And Seize the Rainbow features Sonny fronting a rock band with Decoding Society/Rollins Band vet Melvin Gibbs on bass, and two drummers that sound like one drummer. (Later they added a keyboard player, and were not as good.) While Sonny's known for his skronk and chaos-slide, the main impression I have of him in his maturity is the majesty of his melodic statements.
3) The smiling folks at Clean Feed over in Portugal still have me on their promo list, even though I haven't really got much time to review stuff these days. Lucky me. As a result, I got to hear Epicenter, a new side by Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth, a bassist-led, piano-dominated (Craig Taborn's Wurlitzer is particularly effective) quintet with two tenors including the redoubtable Tony Malaby that's capped by a scintillating cover of the Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties" that might just be the best jazz cover of a rock song since, I dunno, Steve Marcus' "Tomorrow Never Knows." Also new from Clean Feed is I Never Meta Guitar Three, the latest installment in the Elliott Sharp-curated series of contemporary solo guitarists. Like its predecessors, Three is rich in electro-acoustic wonderment.