To commemorate the release of his highly-anticipated book, "The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited the Soul of Black America," the polymathic Marcus J. Moore has crafted his first musical project, "spr blk: liberation jazz and soul from the '70s and beyond," an exquisite 60-minute set of rare and somewhat familiar Black music from his personal collection.
Those who’ve followed the author, editor, pundit and music journalist know how much he loves looking for records; he’s a voracious cratedigger whose ear doesn’t stay in one place for too long. As of late, he’s been into obscure jazz and soul from the 1970s, an interest that arose as he finished writing "The Butterfly Effect." “I had to tap into some heavy stuff for the book — Black pain, trauma, systemic racism, and resilience. It took a toll,” Moore says. “After I submitted the project, I needed something spiritual and very much for me. That led me to artists like Nina Simone and Alice Coltrane, and groups like The Voices of East Harlem. I needed music that spun our collective pain into something positive.”
In turn, "spr blk" goes deep on meditative jazz and soul from a fruitful era of Black music. Side A simmers: dusty drums clatter in the darkness, and for the first few minutes, listeners are taken to shuttered jazz clubs, where the smoke loomed heavily above cramped stages. These 30 minutes don’t drag, though; there’s something beautiful and otherworldly happening here. Side B is livelier, full of percussive gems and uplifting soul. “More than anything,” Moore says, “I wanted this to feel like 1972. I wanted the tape to resemble an artifact, like something you didn’t know you needed until you heard it. These are the kinds of songs I play when walking through New York City or driving through Maryland. I hope they elicit powerful emotions."
Profits from this album are donated to jazzfoundation.org