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Matana Roberts

Matana Roberts is a dynamic saxophonist, composer and improviser, who tries to expose in her music the mystical roots and spiritual traditions of African American creative expression. A Chicago native, she was fortunate enough to be surrounded by elder musicians who showed her by distinct example the importance of listening to one's personal creative voice while at the same time using the profound and many layered traditions of jazz and improvised musics to act only as her creative guide, not as her creative definer. By using their mentorship, she has been able to craft a voice and creative focus that truly speaks to her own true artistic individuality. She feels strongly that her music should not only reflect the many colors and moods of universal human emotions, but that it should also testify, critique, document, and respond to the many socio-economic, historical, and cultural inequalities that exist not only in this country, but all over the world. Her second recording collaboration with bassist Joshua Abrams and drummer/ percussionist Chad Taylor - known as sticks&stones was released to critical acclaim on Thrill Jockey records in June of 2004.( www.thrilljockey.com) She has played alongside such musical luminaries as Steve Lacy, Eugene Chadbourne,Hery Grimes, Hannah Marcus, Fred Anderson, Nicole Mitchell, Jeff Parker, Robert Barry, Joe Maneri, Miya Masaoka, Vijay Iyer, David Boykins, and Ralph Alessi. Matana is currently working on a recording of “live electronic” solo compositions, a string project to be premiered in October 2004, and is collaborating with wordsmith Reg E. Gaines and tap dancer Savion Glover on a project that explores the legacy of saxophonist John Coltrane. She is also an associate member of the A.A.C.M.--Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Matana is also on the faculty of S.I.M.--School For Improvised Music.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Logan Richardson: AfroFuturism

Read "AfroFuturism" reviewed by Chris May

In a 2016 interview, Kansas City-born alto saxophonist Logan Richardson said: “Jazz will constantly change because there's constantly a new us, new times. There will always be a fight from the conformists--but they don't represent where the tradition is coming from." Richardson was talking not long after the release of his adventurous Blue Note album, Shift. ...

Saxophone Colossi: An Alternative Top Ten Banging Albums

Read "Saxophone  Colossi: An Alternative Top Ten Banging Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Miles Davis once said you could tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker. You might want to add John Coltrane, you might even want to add Davis. But however you cut it, saxophones and trumpets have been the flag bearers of the music. Trumpets got things rolling and saxophones came into ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

I Don't Hear Nothin' But The Blues: I Don't Hear Nothin' But The Blues Volume 3: Anatomical Snuffbox

Read "I Don't Hear Nothin' But The Blues Volume 3: Anatomical Snuffbox" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

The prolific and eclectic saxophonist/composer Jon Irabagon finds his most uninhibited side with his I Donʼt Hear Nothinʼ but the Blues (IDHNBTB) group, one he aptly describes as his “brutal ensemble." I Don't Hear Nothin' but the Blues Volume 3: Anatomical Snuffbox expands the group that debuted as a duo, then became a trio on Volume ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

The Renewal of AACM: Nicole Mitchell, Mike Reed, Tomeka Reid, Matana Roberts

Read "The Renewal of AACM: Nicole Mitchell, Mike Reed, Tomeka Reid, Matana Roberts" reviewed by Russell Perry

In 100 one-hour programs, the series Jazz at 100 told the story of recorded jazz. It established the foundations upon which the broadly diverse music of today is built. This is the first hour of the successor series which aims to give voice to the current jazz scene and appreciates its countless creators. In ...

Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter

Read "Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter" reviewed by Chris May

Jazz has been inextricably linked with social and political protest since at least the late 1930s, when Billie Holiday made famous the leftist songwriter and poet Abel Meeropol's “Strange Fruit." The song, which has a power to move that is undiminished by familiarity, likens the bodies of lynched African Americans to fruit hanging in trees.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Deerhoof and Wadada Leo Smith: To Be Surrounded By Beautiful, Curious, Breathing, Laughing Flesh Is Enough

Read "To Be Surrounded By Beautiful, Curious, Breathing, Laughing Flesh Is Enough" reviewed by Troy Dostert

When it comes to combining the anarchic spirit of punk rock with whip-smart musicianship and a penchant for unbelievably catchy grooves, few bands come close to Deerhoof. Since the 1990s, the group has been cherished by indie rock cognoscenti, and they've also earned the respect of a large swath of the non-rock community as well, working ...

ARTICLE: BOOK REVIEW

Playing For Keeps: Improvisation In The Aftermath

Read "Playing For Keeps: Improvisation In The Aftermath" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Playing For Keeps: Improvisation In The Aftermath Edited by Daniel Fischlin & Eric Porter 352 Pages ISBN: 978-1-4780-0814-9 Duke University Press 2020 Musical improvisation is often described as a conversation. A universal language. Musicians trading back and forth seem to be having a blast, which, on occasion, for ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Chad Taylor Trio: The Daily Biological

Read "The Daily Biological" reviewed by Giuseppe Segala

Chad Taylor è conosciuto in particolare per essere cofondatore, insieme a Rob Mazurek, del Chicago Underground Duo, con le sue varianti nei diversi ampliamenti degli organici. La sua attività si è dipanata ad ampio raggio negli ultimi trent'anni, facendo fulcro sulla scena di Chicago prima, e di New York poi, collaborando tra l'altro con protagonisti storici, ...

AACM: Together We Are Stronger

Read "AACM: Together We Are Stronger" reviewed by Chris May

With the passing in 2017 of the pianist Muhal Richard Abrams and trumpeter Phil Cohran, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, formed in Chicago in 1965, lost the last two of the four musicians who organised its inaugural meeting. But with two succeeding generations of standard bearers stepping up to the plate, the AACM ...


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