221

Matana Roberts/Josh Abrams/Chad Taylor: Sticks And Stones

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Matana Roberts/Josh Abrams/Chad Taylor: Sticks And Stones I had the disc Sticks And Stones spinning in my CD walkman for entire week before I researched the musicians that recorded this approachable session. Listeners may be familiar with the drummer Chad Taylor, a principal in all the various machinations of the Chicago Underground bands, and problably also attuned to basssit Josh Abrams work with Town & Country and Ronnie Boykins’ band. It was the 482 Music site that informed me that saxophonist Matana Roberts was a woman. While I wouldn’t admit to being sexist, it never occurred to me that this reedsman was, well, a reeds-“person.”

A member of Chicago’s AACM, she plays from the Fred Anderson/Ornette Coleman bag of freedom, yet with a tone somewhere from the West Coast coolness of Paul Desmond. The trio sets on a course of upbeat, yet relaxed playing that cites the new thing but attracts your ear instead of repelling it. The three began as the house band for Fred Anderson’ Velvet Lounge, and have worked out a particular approach to their own freedom principle. They take bop oriented tunes like “Lose My Number” and distill it through an early 1960s Ornette Coleman filter. They keep the music within a chamber sound, meaning they maintain equal volume levels between players. There is no overpowering of one player to the detriment of another. Taylor keeps the shifting energies in constant motion as Abrams maintains a strong pulse throughout.

The recording has nine originals (3 by each musician) plus 2 covers. Their take on Junior Delgado and Lee Scratch Perry’s “Sons Of Slave” is a dreamy, lazy raggae walk. Roberts’ saxophone summons Coltrane’s incantations on “Hannibul” as she blows prayers and calls to attention. The ballad “Suhassani” finds Taylor mingling brushes and Abrams soloing to envelope the cautious Roberts.


Track Listing: Turning The Mark; Equally Strong; Lose My Number; Suhassani; End Of The Game; Usetosay; Sons Of Slaves; Hannibul; Spaces; Salvador; Spicer.

Personnel: Matana Roberts

Title: Sticks And Stones | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: 482 Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "South Beat" CD/LP/Track Review South Beat
by Edward Blanco
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "Choice" CD/LP/Track Review Choice
by Dave Wayne
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "Blues I Felt" CD/LP/Track Review Blues I Felt
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "Quartet Plus, Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review Quartet Plus, Volume 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Classic! Live at Newport" CD/LP/Track Review Classic! Live at Newport
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 8, 2016
Read "Mount Meander" CD/LP/Track Review Mount Meander
by John Sharpe
Published: November 19, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.