Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens de Couleur Libre (Constellation, 2011)


Sign in to view read count
Saxophonist and composer Matana Roberts has been involved in a lengthy genealogical exploration of her family's rich history, and in doing so has conceived of an ambitious twelve part experience of music, narrative and sound.

Part one is this album, subtitled Chapter One: Gens De Couleur Libres which is a fascinating mix of genres, ideas and song. There is the raw toned tenor saxophone that she has developed a unique tone on in instrumental pieces like the opening “Rise," which move through free and intense areas of exploration providing an opening into the story.

Roberts also sings quite well on the album, but the centerpiece is her haunting narration of a slave auction on “Libation For Mr. Brown: Bid 'em In" where she throws her heart and soul into the scorn and shame of American slavery. It's an unforgettable narrative, akin to Abbey Lincoln's work with Max Roach on songs like “Driva' Man."

This is one of the most unique musical experiences to be released in 2011, and really succeeds where well meaning but overly bloated efforts like Wynton Marsalis' epic Blood on the Fields have faltered.

By breaking her narrative down into discreet parts, she is developing a project akin to the late clarinetist John Carter's Roots and Folklore series of albums, which examined the African- American experience through music. Part history lesson, part protest album, and all jazz in its soul and conception, this is a thoughtful and valuable project that deserves much attention.

Continue Reading...

This story appears courtesy of Music and More by Tim Niland.
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

Post a comment


Shop Amazon

Jazz News


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.