Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens de Couleur Libres

Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens de Couleur Libres

The saxophonist and composer Matana Roberts first reached a wider audience with her band Sticks and Stones, a trio that included bassist Josh Abrams and drummer Chad Taylor. Roberts has been involved with various projects since then, and she has received quite a bit of attention for her ambitious work-in-progress, Coin Coin, which deals with family and social history, Like Archie Shepp’s Attica Blues and The Cry of My People, Coin Coin incorporates a number of African-American musical styles and a sense of theater. 2011’s Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens de Couleur Libres was recorded live in studio in Montreal with a large group composed of local musicians. The album opens with “Rise,” and from then on the listener is gripped. Not only does Roberts lend her strong horn playing to the proceedings, she also sings, screams, and lets loose powerful spoken word passages. Her performance is cathartic, strange, artful, and quite moving. After hearing Chapter One, one looks forward to future installments of Coin Coin.

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