The debut album Black Acid Soul from Lady Blackbird is one of the standouts for 2021. It's instant and within a minute you are hooked. Think Nina Simone, Hot Buttered Soul-era Isaac Hayes, Billie Holiday and Chaka Khan with critics drawing comparisons to Adele, Amy and Celeste, Lady Blackbird’s distinct and beguiling talent is not one to be missed. Gilles Peterson called her "the Grace Jones of Jazz".
With a voice that has stopped critics in their tracks, Lady Blackbird is a revelatory new talent with music that transcends the jazz scene through which the LA-based artist is rooted. Minimal yet rich, classic yet timely, the album connects backwards to Miles Davis (his pianist, Deron Johnson, plays Steinway Baby Grand, Mellotron and Casio Synth throughout) and forwards to Pete Tong (he made the Bruise mix of ‘Collage’ his Number Two Essential Selection tune of 2020).
It's 11 tracks have a sound, feeling and attitude that speak of Lady Blackbird's deep experiences in music, stretching all the way back to infancy. Standout tracks include the sad, elegantly simple tune, ‘Nobody’s Sweetheart’, plus two killer cuts written by Lady Blackbird and Seefried, ‘Fix It’ and ‘Five Feet Tall’. The former is an elegant piano ballad that sounds like a Great American Songbook standard sung by a woman on the side of the angels. Her ability to nail the song in the studio in minimal takes was clearly something to behold. The album also includes Wanted Dead or Alive, a rare groove classic recorded by funk/gospel collective Voices of East Harlem in 1973 and co-produced by Curtis Mayfield, an inspired reinvention on the aching 'It’ll Never Happen Again', written by Tim Hardin and a stunning take on Nina Simone's Blackbird.