Matana Roberts Reveals New Material for Coin Coin at 61 Local, Sep 11, 2014

Alto saxophonist and storyteller Matana Roberts played the latest installment of Coin Coin last night at 61 Local. This one, a solo set, is intended as one of the bookends to an ambitious 12-part project that weaves together stories, history, and myths passed down in Roberts’ own family. This is an artist with a rare aesthetic vision, able to draw together ideas, melodies, phrases, stories, and images together in a kaleidoscopic work of sight and sound.

Roberts’ selections for the evening were vivid and provocative and she managed to build one layer upon another as she returned to the phrase, “I like to tell stories …” between short and often tender turns on alto overlaid upon a series of looped video and audio clips. The hour-long piece was improvised throughout as she led the audience through a story about the character “Papa Joe,” a man born free in Tennessee in 1870 and how he fell in love with an orphaned woman of possible mixed-race background. The tale is one filled with both tragedy and triumph–and as Roberts claimed at the start of the performance, she had elected to do this on the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 because she “wanted to do some healing.”

As this part of the project makes clear, Coin Coin continues to be one of the most exciting works of creative music going on right now in New York City. The music is at the same time personal as well as readily accessible, startling in its sincerity and captivating in its clarity. Roberts possesses such keen abilities of observation and appreciation for the myriad people who came before her. The tales she spins offer us a profound and original view of the United States as she deals with topics including slavery, rape, race-related violence, and post-slave American society. Roberts immediately connects with her audiences, often engaging them to take part in the music, or to discuss aspects of it publicly afterwards.

Last night’s performance gives followers of Roberts’ work and fans of creative music something to look forward to once it is committed to record.

Roberts performance was the first in Snugs concert series at 61 Local (Brooklyn) this Fall. Many exciting performances will follow in September and October. Please click here for a complete listing.

–Cisco Bradley, Sep 12, 2014

Playlist for the Week of August 29, 2014

  • Matt Mitchell – Fiction (Pi Recordings, 2013)
  • Eric Dolphy – Stockholm Sessions (Enja, 1979; 2007)
  • Stephen Gauci, Kirk Knuffke, and Ken Filiano – Chasing Tales (Relative Pitch, 2014)
  • Exposed Blues Duo – Bare (Greene Avenue Music, 2010)
  • Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio + Peter Evans – Live in Lisbon (LP CDR copy obtained from artist)
  • Rodrigo Amado – Wire Quartet (Clean Feed, 2014)
  • Nicole Mitchell’s Sonic Projections – The Secret Escapades of Velvet Anderson (Rogue Art, 2014)

Musicians against Police Brutality: Michael Brown Memorial Benefit Concert at Union Pool, Thu Sep 4, 7-11 pm

Thursday, September 4 at Union Pool (484 Union Avenue, Brooklyn):

Matana Roberts, Meshell Ndegeocello, Ches Smith, Henry Grimes, Fay Victor, Matt Lavelle, Ras Moshe, Amirtha Kidambi, Daro Beeroozi, Peter Evans, Claire Fornorola, Jeff Tobias and his band Sunwatchers, Dana Scheter, Connie Crothers, Enuma Messam, Jompii del Phineus at Union Pool 7-11 pm $10


If you cannot attend the concert and still want to donate, you may do so here.


Travis Laplante’s Battle Trance Fall Tour Dates

Battle Trace, features four fearless tenor saxophonists: Travis Laplante, Matt Nelson, Jeremy Viner, and Patrick Breiner.

Sept. 1st- Kittery, ME @ the Buoy
Sept. 2nd- Burlington, VT @ Jenke Arts
Sept. 3rd- Montreal, Quebec @ Casa Del Popolo
Sept. 4th- Ottawa, Ontario @ Mugshots
Sept. 5th- Toronto, Ontario @ Array Space
Sept. 6th- Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class
Sept. 7th- Chicago, IL @ Constellation
Sept. 8th- Detroit, MI @ Trinosophes
Sept. 9th- Kalamazoo, MI @ Satellite Records
Sept. 10th- Oberlin, OH @ Oberlin College
Sept. 11th- Buffalo, NY @ Silo Sessions
Sept. 24th- Brooklyn, NY @ Roulette
Sept. 26th- Balitmore, MD @ Red Room
Sept. 28th- Boston, MA @ Lilypad
Oct. 30th- Vancouver, BC @ The Emerald
Nov. 1st- Seattle, WA @ Earshot Jazz Festival
Nov. 2nd- Portland, OR @ Habesha
Nov. 4th- Sacramento, CA @ TBA
Nov. 5th- San Franciso, CA @ Center For New Music
Nov. 6th- Los Angeles, CA @ Equitable Vitrines
Nov. 7th- Oakland, CA @ TBA
Nov. 20th- Philadelphia, PA @ The Rotunda

More dates may be added.

New This Week on Jazz Right Now / August 25, 2014


August Artist Feature: Jim Hobbs Residency at Douglass Street Music Collective, Aug 20-23

(photo by Rob Miller)

(photo by Rob Miller)

The exciting and fiery alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs is playing four nights at Douglass Street Music Collective starting Wednesday, August 20. Having developed a take-no-prisoners reputation with his playing and composing among numerous groups in Boston, this groundbreaking artist remains under-appreciated on the New York scene. Having led the Fully Celebrated for a number of years, Hobbs has orchestrated a number of exciting releases with that band and in other contexts. His four nights of performances this week are a great chance for New Yorkers and Brooklynites to get out and hear his latest music.

Concert Schedule


Cisco Bradley: What music will you be showcasing during your residency at DSMC?
Jim Hobbs: A mix of composed and improvised music that will explore the personnel of the different ensembles.
CB: What got you into the type of music you are playing today? Were there particular records, teachers, or contemporaries who played a role in that?
JH: As a youngster I was a metalhead … As a young alto player I was encouraged to check out “jazz.” I loved it all, but was most touched by the way the artists evolved over the course of their careers. That led me to a discovery of the evolution of “jazz” itself. Two records I came upon in the used record store were “Where’s Brooklyn?” and “Symphony for the Improviser”. Many people assume my Ornette roots but it is really Don Cherry that spoke to me. The discovery allowed me to embrace all my influences, Sabbath, Willie Nelson, Fela etc.
CB: How did you first become involved in the Boston avant music scene?
JH: When I first came to Boston I thought the scene would be more avant then I found it. I found a few guys who knew of the stuff I liked and turned others on to it …soon we had our own avant scene.
CB: Who have your principle collaborators been through the years?
JH: Timo Shanko, Django Carranza, Taylor Bo Hynie, Joe Morris, Laurence Cook, Bill Lowe, Forbes Graham, Luther Gray, Mary Halvorson, and others.
CB: Could you talk a bit more about the people you have selected to play with you at DSMC? What kinds of musical relationships have you formed with each of them over the years?
JH: Well, a lot to say. Haven’t played with Ava yet, with Nate only once briefly and Chad only in a two-drum situation. So night one is a fulfillment of my desire to play with them more. I have toyed with a “with strings” idea for a while and recently had a chance to do that with this line up in Hartford for a Joe Morris and Stephan Haynes day of improvising mash up … I have played the most with those in the 7 piece band. Feel a brotherhood with Taylor, Ken, and Tomas as we have traveled together. Josh played my music when he lived in Boston as has Brandon. And Brandon and I have toured a little. Ingrid and I sat next to one another during the Braxton opera rehearsals and performances and I loved listening to her warm up. Tatsuya is an old friend and one of the most creative percussionists I have ever heard.
CB: You have collaborated considerably with Taylor Ho Bynum. Could you talk a bit about him as a musician and a person?
JH: Taylor and I met when he moved back to Boston after college. I asked him to join the Fully Celebrated and we kept a weekly residency going for 3+ years at 3 different venues. We all really found ourselves during that time, Taylor switched to cornet to better blend with my 20’s Conn and his sound was born. I think of him as my little brother and feel great pride watching him grow as an artist, composer and a leader. He is a great man and I am very happy to call him a close and dear friend.

CB: Have you formed any new groups recently that you would like to talk about?

JH: Always forming new groups/ concepts. DSMC is a taste of exactly that.

CB: Do you have any upcoming releases to highlight?

JH: Working on a solo record for Relative Pitch.
–Cisco Bradley, August 19, 2014