Music

Artist: Amy Sherald, Courtesy of Monique Meloche Gallery*

Here Today

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HERE TODAY combines the artist's revelatory new tracks with covers of famous standards by Georges Bizet, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and Stevie Wonder. As ever in Hall Moran's work, a range of musical styles, tones, and tempers are dynamically cross-wired and recombined. Her inimitable operatically-trained voice–at turns sly and simmering, sophisticated and soulful–unites her expansive aesthetic vision and places black female being at the heart of the modern world.

At once looking forward to futures that might be and looking back on tragedies that continue to unfold, Here Today offers us allegories of the present. Indeed, this album carves out sonic space for luxuriating in the wonders of Hall Moran's voice while reckoning with the dark histories she enjoins us to witness. Not unlike her fellow black vanguardists working in other media, such as painter Glenn Ligon and poet Nathaniel Mackey, Hall Moran takes up the Western lyrical form only to turn it inside out with the nuance, force, and prophetic urgency of black feeling. The resulting album is both a script for survival in today's dark times and a model of black study for the ages, with an edge as insurgent as it is incisive.
- Huey Copeland, PhD

Moran's music is guided by the stuff embedded in that track: consonant sounds, dissonant truths, deep ironies, and linked legacies that span styles and eras.  HERE TODAY combines concert hall refinement with r&b feel, singer-songwriter intimacy with jazz and chamber-music sophistication.  Violin, viola, and cello give way to electric guitar and bass, bound together through an understanding of black music that, from James P. Johnson to Nina Simone to Kendrick Lamar, has always straddled genres and played with meanings.  Moran's voice provides a clear throughline.  It can sound transparent, like clean water, or muddy with inflection, like more brackish straits, or both in the space of a song.
-Larry Blumenfeld, The Village Voice, 2018 https://www.villagevoice.com/2018/02/06/alicia-hall-morans-unbound-musical-modernism/

 


 

 

Heavy Blue

Debut recording from stunning and vocalist Alicia Hall Moran

Featuring a collection of original songs with words and music by Alicia Hall Moran and showcasing the broad palette of colors she is known for: from deep velvety tones on FLOW MY TEARS (FOR SMOKEY ROBINSON) to clear bright and high on the traditional spiritual DEEP RIVER. Moran, the great grandniece of classic spiritual arranger Hall Johnson, is named for his mother, Alice, whose singing of spirituals he first transcribed. Taking his cue as a composer, instrumentalist and arranger, Moran has come forward with her own tunes, the singer-songwriter ballad BELIEVE ME where she also accompanies herself on piano; the electronic remix OPEN DOOR, the powerful theatrical ballad COME BACK INTO MY LIFE, and the understated soul lullaby, SHH.

NEW YORK TIMES on 'Heavy Blue'... "Ms. Hall Moran has a bell-like tone and impeccable control, but she understands what a bit of ragged intensity can do." (read more)

WALL STREET JOURNAL on 'Heavy Blue'...
"a gloriously trained voice, tinged with blues feeling" (read more)

ALL•ABOUT•JAZZ on 'Heavy Blue'... "anyone who knows Alicia will have already become aware of her chameleonic wonders....She is not merely putting her own spin on the American Songbook, but forging her own out of labor and love." (read more)

 


* Amy Sherald, What's precious inside of him does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence (All American), 2017 (oil on canvas), courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery.

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