Lady Blackbird (Marley Munroe) is first and foremost a voice. Dark and silky, a little grainy with the right amount of life in her interpretations of visceral songs that flatter your subcutaneous tissue effectively (It’s Not That Easy by Reuben Bell, Blackbird by Nina Simone, Fix It by Bill Evans, Beware of the Stranger by Eugene Dixon, etc.).
The title Black Acid Soul would suggest readings borrowed from 1970s Miles, or from the acid jazz trend that abounded around the 2000s. Even perhaps Afro-futurism or certain adventures of Nicholas Payton. But in truth, it’s much more classic than that. Lady Blackbird’s fabulous voice is wrapped delicately, but not sparingly, by Deron Johnson’s keyboards and Johnny Flaugher’s double bass, and that’s about it. Lady allows herself a bit of grandiosity towards the end of the album, in Beware The Stranger and Black Acid Soul, which are propelled to an uplifting catharsis by gospel-like choirs. The acid suggested is in the effect of this music on the listener rather than in the sounds of the music-making. This is the strength of this extraordinary Lady and of this album of a rare emotional charge.