Friday, June 3, 2016

The Linda Sharrock Network, They Begin to Speak

Vocalist Linda Sharrock's revival continues apace with a house exorcizing, system cleansing, neighbor scattering two-CD live set of Linda in full force: The Linda Sharrock Network and their opus They Begin to Speak (Improvising Beings ib46).

This one gives us Linda's inimitable vocalizations, Mario Rechtern's reeds and two contrasting lineups, one recorded live in France, the other live in the UK. Each has a kick-out-the-jams rebellious free-spiritedness born of dedicated concentration and emotive volatility.

The French date includes some artists Improvising Beings followers should surely know and a few that may be less familiar: Itaru Oki on trumpet, Eric Zinman at the piano, Makoto Sato on drums, Yoram Rosilio on bass, Claude Parle on accordion, and Ciprien Busolini on violin. The UK session joins Linda and Mario with Derek Saw on trumpet, John Jasnoch on electric guitar, and Charlie Collins on drums.

As with the first recordings in the comeback present, Linda inspires her group mates to some very moving, emotionally heightened free music. With Linda in full voice, giving out with the boldest of exclamatory screams and wails, it is a situation were you as a sideman need to respond with everything you've got or just go home. Surely everybody holds nothing back. Her roots are in the free-est heights of sixties expression and her presence, especially in this new set, intrepidly clears the air, scuttles the accretions of politeness and routine to make a space to blaze the outside trails of extreme expression.

She is in great form here, which means that you are either ready for a trip to the edge of freedom or you'll run away from it all in fear and confusion. That depends on you alone. I find it extraordinarily bracing, but then I was listening to Monkey-Pockey-Boo with interest around 1971, so I come prepared. You who might shy away from the edges of out-dom may head for the hills when you hear this. But those who are open to the netherworlds will doubtless find both bands in emergency response mode, Linda spurring everyone on and filling the air with emotive tattoos that make her perhaps the most outside of all vocalists.

It is like a dip in an ice-cold stream. There are those who will decline, others who will take the plunge and feel all the better for it.

This is free music that might disturb you, might exhilarate you, might send you to any number of spaces outside yourself. It will not leave you indifferent. That I vow! Kudos to all for the courage to pop for us a gigantic musical balloon.

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