All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

Matana Roberts: Always

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
The saxophone is possibly the musical instrument that produces a sound closest to the human voice. Listening to a virtuoso saxophonist like Matana Roberts, one hears more than just breath through a reed instrument. Her solo recording Always, travels beyond voice, to mind, body, and spirit.

Recorded in studio, without the benefit of a reflecting audience, the experience is one of a voyeur to the saxophonist's most private thoughts. Offered with excellent sound, the recording reproduces fingers on keys, breath into and out of lungs, the architecture of Robert's frame -nasal cavity, ribs, diaphragm, tongue, teeth, and lips. Listening to Always, one wishes Joe McPhee had a similar space and this technology when he recorded Tenor (Hatology) in 1976 or that John Coltrane could have wired his practice room with 21st century equipment.

Matana Roberts alone with her thoughts here produces two untitled tracks, the first a 33-minute long-distance trek through the valleys of her experience. The second a 10-minute jostle with a bit more muscle for elbow room. This solo recording comes on the heels of her solo Coin Coin Chapter 3 River Run Thee (Constellation, 2015) the third installment of her 12-part project that explores her African-American history and femininity. Just as the Coin Coin series has downsized from an orchestra, to a small ensemble, to Roberts' overdubbing electronics, spoken word, and song onto saxophone, this session pares down even further to just saxophone.

Like Coin Coin this session draws from the saxophonist's roots in Chicago's AACM and recordings by fellow artists Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell. Like the African-American migration to Chicago, Roberts' sound begins in the South. She begins the journey with simple clear notes, delivered in layers, as if she were building a house. First comes the basement of blues, then the walls of trust, and then decoration of color. Roberts applies bits of Thelonious Monk's angularity, Lester Young's gentle touch, and splashes of folk music.

The music, one gets the notion, is as much for her ears as the listener's. She has set aside conscious striving for flow and the music reflects the same. Her approach is a meandering discovery of treasure. The shorter second piece picks up the pace, as if her trek must now get home before dark. She sparks a more assertive approach; even her breaths are more urgent here. Underlying all is the corporeal substance of her being. That essence of her spirit's expression that shines throughout this recording.

Track Listing: Untitled N. 1; Untitled N. 2.

Personnel: Matana Roberts: alto saxophone.

Title: Always | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Relative Pitch Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Profiles
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Always

Always

Relative Pitch Records
2015

buy
Feldspar

Feldspar

Tour De Bras
2014

buy
 

Live In London

Constellation
2011

buy
The Chicago Project

The Chicago Project

Central Control
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Music in Motian CD/LP/Track Review
Music in Motian
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Descansado - Songs For Films CD/LP/Track Review
Descansado - Songs For Films
by John Ephland
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Simbiose CD/LP/Track Review
Simbiose
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 18, 2018
Read For Lew CD/LP/Track Review
For Lew
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2018
Read "Nahnou Houm" CD/LP/Track Review Nahnou Houm
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 28, 2017
Read "Liberation Narratives" CD/LP/Track Review Liberation Narratives
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 31, 2017
Read "Satoko Fujii Solo" CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read "Trinity One" CD/LP/Track Review Trinity One
by Geannine Reid
Published: May 31, 2017
Read "90 Going On Amazing" CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Chrome" CD/LP/Track Review Chrome
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 11, 2017