Maroon

Migratory

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

The colors of Maroon spill across abstract surfaces throughout Migratory. Hillary Maroon embraces several fringe vocal traditions, from fairly straightforward articulations of melody to moments of poetry. All of this material is extremely difficult; any given tune might demand pinpoint leaps over intervals beyond the octave, then veer into microtonal filigree. Maroon handles it all, in a cool contralto that retains its sensuality in even the most cerebral passages. Benny Lackner, her partner, sticks right next to her, a step or two out of the spotlight; his style is conventional on "She So Lovely," the closest thing to a standard within their original repertoire, and more reminiscent of Joe Zawinul's outside work with Miles Davis on tracks like "Welcome to Brooklyn." (He plays a real Rhodes electric piano, by the way, whose muffled, haunting tone has been forgotten by generations raised on pristine digital mutations of that classic sound.) On other people's work, Maroon takes thrilling risks; they float through "Caravan" like smoke through an opium den, drawing inspiration from the Arabic contours of Ellington's motif in their hallucinogenic improvisation. The rhythm sections play atmospherically on every cut, offering critical but nearly invisible support. It adds up to an exquisitely balanced performance, adventurous yet approachable, and rich with promise.

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