Album Review

Roberts, Matana – “Coin Coin Chapter One: Les Gens De Couleur Libres” – [Constellation]

lombard   5/24/2011   CD, Jazz

Recorded live in Montreal in 2010, this new 2011 release “Coin Coin…” by Matana Roberts will take you on an intense journey back to the closing days of slavery, when the narrator had to “hustle to survive.” It starts out as clearly a jazz album (albeit, a challenging jazz album with hectic instrumentation), but quickly morphs into something all together different, as Matana’s voice (which at times mirrors her sax, as it wails) and storytelling shine through. Blending jazz, folk, blues, spoken word, and acapella singing; it’s a deep ride through a painful past full of challenges (“I watched my parents die of yellow fever”) and triumphs (“I bought back all my children…and we worked that land…I now own 12,000 acres of land…I hustle to survive”). Often there are buried voices in the distance, perhaps ghosts of the past battling to be heard as their utter incantations in a foreign tongue (French? Creole?).

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