Image: Rudyard Lee Cullers/Sylvia Black
You may not yet know her name, but you certainly know who she’s worked with. Sylvia Black has played musical accomplice to the likes of Moby, Daphne Guinness, Telepopmusik and Santigold, amongst others. Bowie producer Tony Visconti called her “one of the most powerful bass players I’ve ever worked with.”
She was also the voice of cult NYC electro-poppers Kudu. And now she’s taking her voice solo, with the sultry, darkly haunting new single “Walking With Fire” – which BlackBook premieres here.
Now, while it may be summer, we’re never averse to a bit of smoky, late-nights-in-low-lit-cafes intrigue. And Black delivers just that, five minutes of slinky gothic jazz, with sultry, irresistibly seductive vocals, alluringly chilling atmospherics (Jaleel Shaw utterly tears it up on saxophone), and red hot lyrics like, “Wherever you go / This fire follows.” Think: Shirley Bassey meets Twin Peaks.
“I usually play this song with my other electric band,” she explains, “but thought it would also fit into my heavy lounge sound with vibes, timpani, upright bass and, of course, sax by Jaleel Shaw, who can do no wrong when it comes to straight ahead jazz. The slow bending of my melody notes is my nod to the goddesses Koko Taylor and Carmen McRae.”
Sylvia will be appearing live at NYC’s Bowery Electric tomorrow evening, July 27, and will be playing with yet another BlackBook fave, Kristeen Young, during her August residency at LA’s Redwood Bar. Her debut album will be released in 2018.