Linda Sharrock is a legendary vocalist. In the late '60s and early '70s, usually in tandem with her then-husband, Sonny, Linda recorded some of the wildest vocals of the era. She moved to Europe after their last album together, and has been based there since, playing with various members of the Austrian underground. In 2008 she suffered a stroke, which left her weak and partly paralyzed, but she returned to the scene a couple of years ago, with the assistance of reed player, Mario Rechtern. The show tonight (May 19) also featured the great Austrian violin player, Mia Zabelka.
Once seated in her wheelchair, Linda began to vocalize glossolalic notes and tones that moved from quiet babble to throaty roars. Rechtern played around with a vast array of instruments (various saxes, musette, etc.) and Zabelka shifted between a standard violin and an electric one hooked to treatments that gave it a more synth-like quality. In this context, Linda's vocals functioned almost more like a band, laying a textural base for the other improvisers to work with, and it was an intimate and inspiring performance. Sharrock's voice is not the powerhouse it once was, but she has found other ways to use it, and the radiant smile on her face at the end of the set let us all know she felt she'd succeeded. I couldn't agree more.