Portrait of Linda In Three Colors, All Black
Even among the countless innovative statements of 1969, Black Woman is unmistakable. Sharrock was a contemporary of Miles Davis, Pharoah Sanders, and Wayne Shorter, yet he developed a musical voice entirely outside of the jazz tradition. Like many free- jazz releases of the era, Black Woman is a torrential exploration of blues, gospel, and world music forms, but Sharrock’s guitar brought the proceedings much closer to rock ’n’ roll than other jazz musicians dared to go. Though they usually defy conventional pop music structure, the songs on Black Woman share a chiming, outpouring elation with Hendrix’s music. The title song here is a spiritual hymn as radical and righteous as Hendrix’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Sharrock’s instrument is in constant duet with the shifting contours of his wife Linda’s voice; as confrontational as the music gets, Black Woman is a dance between two lovers, and at times feels like free jazz’s most romantic album. The album ends with Sharrock’s dedication to his wife, a leaping Spanish celebration that closes this colorful ceremony on a note of hope and fulfillment.