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Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens De Couleur Libre

Matana Roberts Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Price: $14.78 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 8 Songs, 2011 $7.92  
Audio CD, 2011 $14.78  
Vinyl, 2011 $27.31  

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 10, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,388 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

Matana Roberts is one of the leading lights of contemporary African-American experimental music, combining her widely recognized gifts as an alto saxophone player and improviser with an intensely engaged re-definition of American Jazz traditions. While it may sound trite, we truly feel this music speaks for itself. It rallies adventurous improv, experimental voice and narrative, a wide array of black folkways, and Matana's impassioned lead playing to tremendous emotional and conceptual effect.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious and beautiful chapter of american history July 16, 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I've listened to this several times with much interest since receiving it a few days ago. Everything about it is enticing: the huge and diverse ensemble of musicians, Roberts' socially subversive leanings, the strength of her own lead saxophone and her taste for the avant-garde. Elements from the last century's civil rights struggle rise to the surface all over the place. She mixes avant-garde jazz, reminiscent of late 60's Pharoah Sanders or Alice Coltrane, with spoken-word poetry, not unlike the beat poetry of the time. Some old a capella plantation-style blues, a la Leadbelly, crop up here and there, and there's a lively New Orleans' jazz segment towards the end. My chief complaint is more of a philosophical one, that the civil rights struggle didn't end in the 60's (as our history books often pretend), and by concentrating on that period, it turns this into more of a historical document, a sort of nostalgic piece, than a statement on modern society or an acknowledgement that things are still not what they ought to be. She could have used the spoken-word segments to illuminate these questions, but instead used what to me sounds like run-of-the-mill beatnik silliness. I haven't heard anything else by Ms. Roberts, but listening to this I can't figure out exactly whether she's merely trying to recreate a slice of americana, or whether she believes the spirit of those times have an application forty or fifty years forward into today's world.

But leaving these less tangible issues aside, the quality of the playing is very good. Roberts' saxophone is wonderful to listen to. I would have traded some of the album for more of the sax.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you have been in a jazz rut . . . May 19, 2011
Format:Audio CD
This album, split between raw, playful vocal pieces (often celebrating life and ancestry) and avant-garde jazz instrumentals--in which the human voice also acts as an instrument (no words), makes me weak in the knees, happy in the heart, and feverish in the brain. I have a read a few reviews of Matana Roberts before--largely focusing on The Chicago Project--and they generally attempt to situate Roberts' music in relation to the jazz saxophone canon, as is traditional in reviews. That said, it is pretty obvious that Roberts is doing her own thing here, and it is a thing you want to hear. (For the sake of offering a comparison, I would venture to say that this album will satisfy anyone who appreciates William Parker albums, particularly those that combine the William Parker Quartet with Leena Conquest--that marriage between avant-garde jazz and songful dance.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Candidate for cd of the year June 20, 2011
Format:Audio CD
While still keeping intact the old tradition of free jazz , Roberts finds a way to renew the genre by incorporating the story of her family in a fulfilling and spiritual symphony.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Encore! Encore! February 3, 2012
By A.T.
Format:Audio CD
This is a stunning piece of work thematically, as well as for the musicality. The music presented here packs quite an emotional punch. It will give you chills and bring a smile to your face. It left me thinking about my own life within a larger human context. I love music that touches on more than one level (musical, visceral, cerebral.)
Ms Robert is a gifted and captivating saxophonist. I already knew that. If you are unfamiliar, take my word for it. Her improvisations are top-shelf, her composing gifts shine, and her vocal skills surprised me and pleased me too.
This is worthy of repeat listening. It is highly recommended. I am looking forward to Chapter Two.
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