Matana Roberts – Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres

Matana (m(a)-ta-na\) Roberts; internationally documented, chicago born saxophonist/improviser/ composer/sound conceptualist; working in various mediums of  performance inquiry; has created alongside visionary experimentalists of this time period in various areas of improvisation, dance, poetry, visual art, theater; as a saxophonist, documented on sound recordings as collaborator, side woman and leader. some recent work focused on the place/problem of memory/tradition as recognized, deciphered, deconstructed, interrogated through radical modes of sound communication, alternative styles of musical notation, and multi genres of improvisation.

Says Matana: “COIN COIN is a compositional sound language, that I have been developing since 2006. My initial interest in creating this work came from my childhood fascination with ghosts, spirits, spooks, and the faint traces of what they leave behind. I have a deep interest in old, antique objects of human existence, mostly because of the variety of story that can be created, factual or not, from the possibility of their being. This project is a combination of those interests as well as my delight in musical communication , ritual adornment, and the genealogical 20th century history of Africans in America. In some instances I am using information that I have gleaned from research into my own ancestral history, as inspiration and area of creative consideration. The musical root of much of this work also stems from my continued attraction/repulsion to certain aspects of the American Jazz tradition(s) which I am deeply involved with as an alto saxophonist.”

In 2008, the success of her leader debut, *The Chicago Project* (Central Control International), led critics to call Roberts “one to watch” (Kevin Legencre, *Jazzwise*) and “an eloquent, dramatic, tone warping free jazz artist right out of Ayler’s anti bop tradition.” (John Fordham, *London Guardian*) She has also recorded as a side woman on recordings with a large smattering of influential post rock ensembles such as Godspeed You Black Emperor, TV on the Radio, Savath and Savalas, and Thee Silver Mount Zion.

 

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