MATANA ROBERTS — Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens De Couleur Libres (review)

MATANA ROBERTS — Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens De Couleur Libres album cover Live album · 2011 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
js
One of the most powerful and moving recordings to come out in the last couple years, “Coin Coin” is not so much a musical piece as it is a combination of theatre and performance art accompanied by music. Its broad ambitious artistic approach has precedent in the multi-media pieces pioneered by Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus, but composer/performer Matana Roberts also draws a lot of influence from modern performance artists such as Meredith Monk and Diamanda Galas. Musically Robert’s influences are the diverse rootsy avant-garde styles of Chicago’s AACM, as well as NYC’s long standing performance art scene.

“Coin Coin” deals with the story and history of slavery as told through the words of those who lived through it. Although such a heavy subject matter could suffer in the hands of those less prepared, Robert’s delivery of these pointed messages from the past is diffused with wry wit and ironic humor and somehow manages to never become too stifling or maudlin. As Roberts and co-narrator Gitjali Jain read snippets of real recollections taken from the past, words pile on top of each other in an abstract jumble, but a very real and personal picture of what things were like comes through. Along with these narratives, "Coin Coin" also uses songs, chants and instrumental passages to make it all the more real.

Matana’s musical material on here is extremely diverse and draws upon free jazz, modern composition, African processions, vocal chants, spirituals and all manner of American roots music. Even without the moving spoken word and vocal segments, the musical compositions on “Coin Coin” alone would be enough to make this one of the best jazz albums of the last couple years.
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snobb wrote:
more than 2 years ago
European Commission sponsored Matana's second charter project's European tour, here is full concert of new material recorded:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/ablogsupreme/2010/06/23/128065079/live-webcast-thursday-matana-roberts-coin-coin-in-concert

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