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Chicago Project

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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The Chicago Project
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Audio CD, February 26, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

"Alto saxophonist and clarinetist Matana Roberts--add this name to the frustratingly short list of excellent female reed players." -- All About Jazz "Roberts is a fluid, elegant player who rejects the star soloist approach of many a saxophonist." -- BBC Jazz

Central Control International is pleased to present The Chicago Project by Matana Roberts! Matana (pronounced Mah-tah-Na) is a dynamic saxophonist, composer, and improviser who exposes the mystical roots and spiritual traditions of African American creative expression in her music. 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 layered traditions of jazz and improvised music to act as her creative guide, not her creative definer. Their mentorship has inspired her true artistic individuality.

The Chicago Project is Roberts' homage to her hometown, featuring compositions and conceptual material composed by her and interpreted by close friends and supporters: bassist Josh Abrams (Town and Country, Prefuse 73), guitarist Jeff Parker (Tortoise, Chicago Underground Trio), and drummer Frank Rosaly (Ken Vandermark's Crisis Ensemble). The album was produced and engineered respectively by pianist Vijay Iyer and Tortoise's John McEntire, and features a very special guest saxophonist in the form of Fred Anderson, one of the founding members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).

An expert improviser, Roberts' playing can be heard on recordings as disparate as Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Yanqui UXO, Sabir Mateen's Shapes Textures and Sounds Ensemble, Daniel Givens' Day Clear and First Dark, and more--as well as works with Savath and Savalas (a.k.a. Guillermo Scott Herren/Prefuse 73). She has also played alongside such musical and artistic luminaries as Roscoe Mitchell, Oliver Lake, Marty Erhlich, Eugene Chadbourne, Henry Grimes, Butch Morris, Reg E. Gaines, George Lewis, Nicole Mitchell, Robert Barry, Joe Maneri, Miya Masaoka, Beans, Steve Lacy, Liberty Ellman, Hill Greene, Vernon Reid, Jayne Cortez, Bill T. Jones, and Savion Glover, among many others. Matana Roberts currently lives and works in New York and is a member of the AACM.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 26, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Central Control
  • ASIN: B000XP42DS
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,933 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Alex Haber on February 27, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Matana Roberts and her band have created here one of the best new jazz albums I've heard in a long time. Comparisons of her style that I've seen to Ayler and Dolphy are apt, but she definitely holds her own here. She and her band are incredibly tight, able to adeptly vary style, tone, and rhythm. Ms. Roberts herself is an incredible saxaphonist, with amazing soul, passion, and technique. She is clearly someone who has listened to her predecessors and what they have to offer, but is in no way bound solely to their styles. By listening to the past, she is well on the way to forging a voice of her own, and a new voice for jazz without forgetting where it's coming from. An incredible work, one that any jazz-o-phile should not hesitate to get his or her hands on. Five stars!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Saxophonist Matana Roberts plays alto saxophone on this debut recording dedicated to her hometown. Although the influences of other alto saxophonists such as Ornette Coleman and Jackie McLean are apparent she has a very unique voice of her own that is edgy, melodic and forward thinking. There is a vocal quality to her playing that is very bluesy and when she duets with Fred Anderson's tenor their sound is almost operatic.
This is a unique recording looking anchored in the blues but edgy and looking toward the future and it rewards multiple listenings.
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