Matana Roberts: SaxophoneMatana Roberts is a dynamic saxophonist, composer and improviser, who tries to expose in her music the mystical roots and spiritual traditions of African American creative expression while at the same time reflecting on the struggles and challenges one must battle in order to be a creative woman of color in the 21st century.
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 many layered traditions of jazz and improvised musics to act only as her creative guide, not as her creative definer. By using their mentorship, she has been able to craft a voice and creative focus that truly speaks to her own true artistic individuality. She feels strongly that her music should not only reflect the many colors and moods of universal human emotions, but that it should also testify, critique, document, and respond to the many socio-economic, historical, and cultural inequalities that exist not only in this country, but all over the world.
Her recording collaboration with bassist Joshua Abrams and drummer/percussionist Chad Taylor - known as sticks&stones ˆ was released to critical acclaim on Music 482 Records last year (www.482music.com). Their second recording will be released on Thrill Jockey records in the Spring of 2004. www.482. She also recently recorded with the renowned Canadian ensemble˜Godspeed You!Black Emperor on their recent release Yanqui U.X.O. Roberts has played alongside such musical luminaries as Steve Lacy, Eugene Chadbourne, Ravi Coltrane, Don Byron, Fred Anderson, Vijay Iyer, Nicole Mitchell, Peter Brotzman, Jeff Parker, Robert Barry, Joe Maneri, Tony Malaby, Daniel Givens, and Ralph Alessi. Matana is currently working on a recording of her solo compositions, a large ensemble project to be premiered in New York in October 2003, a duo project with the highly esteemed fellow AACM member Jeff Parker, and is collaborating with writer/ director/poet Reg E. Gaines and dancer/choreographer Savion Glover on musical/dance tribute to John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy that was recently premiered at the Knitting Factory in New York city. Roberts is also a member of the afrofunkpunkrockjazz arkestra-- Burnt Sugar. This ensemble led by writer/musician Greg Tate uses the conduction concepts created by legendary musicain Butch Morris( www.burntsugarindex.org). Matana is also is a faculty member for the fiercely innovative School for Improvised Music--www.schoolfor improv.org-- in New York City where she currently resides. She is an associate member of the AACM.