Ask the Ages

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Ask the Ages
Ask the Ages.jpg
Studio album by Sonny Sharrock
Released 1991
Genre Jazz, post-bop
Length 45:18
Label Axiom Records
Producer Bill Laswell, Sonny Sharrock
Sonny Sharrock chronology
Faith Moves
Ask the Ages
Space Ghost Coast to Coast

Ask the Ages (1991) was the last album released by jazz guitarist Sonny Sharrock before his death in 1994 (though posthumously released albums followed). It was produced by Bill Laswell and Sharrock, who played with saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, bassist Charnett Moffett, and drummer Elvin Jones.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune 4/4 stars[2]
MusicHound 5/5[3]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz 4/4 stars[4]
Q 3/5 stars[5]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[6]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 10/10[7]

In a contemporary review for the Chicago Tribune, Greg Kot called Ask the Ages a thrilling and essential album for fans of the guitar: "Despite the volcanic power of his playing, Sharrock's majesty is in the lyricism and warmth he finds in even the most abrasive alleyways."[2] Rolling Stone magazine said it sounded like a "classic free-blowing jazz album from the Sixties had been recorded with the clarity and punch of today's rock".[6] Robert Christgau was less enthusiastic in The Village Voice, giving it an "honorable mention" and sarcastically referring to it as "Bill and Elvin's excellent jazz record". He singled out "Little Rock" as the highlight.[8] In the Pazz & Jop, an annual poll of prominent American critics, Ask the Ages was voted the 15th best album of 1991.[9]

In a retrospective review, AllMusic's Steve Huey cited Ask the Ages as Sharrock's best work, "the most challenging jazz work he recorded as a leader, and it's the clearest expression of his roots as a jazz player, drawing heavily on [John] Coltrane's modal post-bop and concepts of freedom."[1] In the Spin Alternative Record Guide (1995), the record was ranked 88th on a list of the "Top 100 Alternative Albums".[7]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Promises Kept" –9:43
  2. "Who Does She Hope to Be?" –4:41
  3. "Little Rock" –7:12
  4. "As We Used to Sing" –7:45
  5. "Many Mansions" –9:31
  6. "Once Upon a Time" –6:26

(all compositions by Sonny Sharrock)



  1. ^ a b Huey, Steve. Ask the Ages at AllMusic
  2. ^ a b Greg Kot, "Sonny Sharrock Ask the Ages", Chicago Tribune [1].
  3. ^ Rucker, Leland (1999). "Sonny Sharrock". In Graff, Gary. MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (2nd ed.). Detroit: Visible Ink Press. ISBN 1578590612. 
  4. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (1992). The Penguin Guide to Jazz. Penguin Books. p. 972. ISBN 0140153640. 
  5. ^ Q. London: 84. May 1992. 
  6. ^ a b Rolling Stone. New York. "Reviews". September 19, 1991. 
  7. ^ a b Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). "Sonny Sharrock", "Top 100 Alternative Albums". Spin Alternative Record Guide. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8. 
  8. ^ The Village Voice review
  9. ^ Pazz & Jop 1991

External links[edit]