Matana Roberts Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile

Matana RobertsCoin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile
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To say that Matana Robert's Coin Coin project is sprawling and ambitious would be an understatement, as she seeks to create musical genealogy based on her family's journey with/as part of the African Diaspora in the U.S. This theme has been explored before and the very start of the album is reminiscent of late clarinettist/composer John Carter's African trilogy. Roberts' sextet dances through set themes and composition, free-improvisation, blues, gospel and fragments of archival speech, as well as Roberts' life stories. While the work takes on the feel of a stream of consciousness narrative, make no mistake: this is a composed, disciplined work. The inclusion of sections of operatic vocals by tenor Jeremiah Abiah and vocals by Roberts and her ensemble provide a rich, essential counterpoint to the abstraction of the instrumentals. This release is more focused than the first Coin Coin effort, representing a maturation of Roberts' conceptual arc. It ranks as one of the most cogent and accessible historical audio documents of Africans in America, in the grand tradition of the AACM and the many jazz improvisers/composers that sought to represent their heritage accurately, honestly and without compromise.