Matana Roberts

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Matana Roberts
Matana Roberts.jpg
Matana Roberts @ All Tomorrow's Parties April 2007
Background information
Origin Chicago, Illinois
Genres Sound Experimentalist, Jazz
Instruments Saxophone
Associated acts Sticks and Stones
Matana Roberts at Moers Festival 2010

Matana Roberts is a sound experimentalist, jazz saxophonist and clarinetist, composer and improviser based in New York City.[1] She has previously been an active member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).[2][3] The Jazz Journalists Association selected Roberts as a finalist nominee for the 2008 "Up and Coming Musician of the Year" award (which Lionel Loueke ultimately won).[4]

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Roberts was raised on the city's South Side and studied classical clarinet during her youth.[2] She formed a trio, Sticks and Stones, with bassist Josh Abrams and drummer Chad Taylor, with whom she regularly performed at the Velvet Lounge.[5] In 2002, Roberts moved to New York, initially busking in subways and publishing a zine, Fat Ragged, about her experiences.[5]

Roberts is the composer of Coin Coin, a multichapter musical work-in-progress exploring themes of history, memory and ancestry.[6][7] Roberts performed at the London Jazz Festival in 2007.[8] In 2008, Central Control released Roberts' The Chicago Project.[9] The album, produced by Vijay Iyer, includes performances by members of Prefuse 73 and Tortoise along with AACM saxophonist Fred Anderson.[10]

In January 2010, Roberts was the guest curator at The Stone.[11] Roberts has been chosen by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that he curated in March 2012 in Minehead, England.[12] Roberts received a 2013 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.[13]


Solo/ as band leader -

  • Lines for Lacy (2006, self-release)
  • The Calling (2007, Utech Records)
  • The Chicago Project (2008, Central Control)
  • Live in London (2011, Central Control)
  • COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres (2011, Constellation Records)
  • COIN COIN Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile (2013, Constellation Records)
  • COIN COIN Chapter Three: River Run Thee (2015, Constellation Records)
  • always. (2015, Relative Pitch Records)

With Sticks and Stones -

  • Sticks and Stones (482 Music)
  • Shed Grace (2006, Thrill Jockey)

As collaborator/side woman-

  • Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Kollaps Tradixionales (Constellation Records)
  • Alexandre Pierrepont - Mike Ladd, Haunted House (Rogue Arts)
  • Matt Bauder’s Paper Gardens (482 Music)
  • Burnt Sugar, Making Love to the Dark Ages (TG)
  • Burnt Sugar, Chopped and Screwed (TG)
  • Burnt Sugar, Burnt Sugar vs the Dominata (TG)
  • Burnt Sugar, Making Love to the Dark Ages (TG)
  • TV on the Radio, Dear Science (Interscope)
  • Burnt Sugar, Live from Minagle Falls (TG)
  • Savath and Savalas, Golden Pollen (Dig records)
  • Burnt Sugar, More Than Posthuman (TG)
  • Matana Roberts/Savion Glover/reg e gaines, If 'Trane was (SG self release)
  • Burnt Sugar, Not April In Paris (TG)
  • Burnt Sugar, If You Can’t Baffle Them (TG)
  • Ayelet Gottlieb, Internal/External (Genivieve records)
  • Various artists, Juncture (Pi Records)
  • Burnt Sugar, Black Sex and Liberation (TG)
  • Ras Moshe and the Music Now Society, Schematic (Jump Arts)
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Yanqui U.X.O. (Constellation Records)
  • Guillermo E. Brown, Handheld (Melanine Harmonique)


  1. ^ Johnson, Martin (2008-03-11). "Chicago's Avant-Garde Musicians". The Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones & Company). Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  2. ^ a b Lurie, Matthew (2005-04-04). "Relative Chords". Time Out Chicago (Chicago: Time Out Group Ltd.). Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  3. ^ Morgan, Frances (2011-12-12). "Matana Roberts’ Genealogy of Jazz". In These Times. 
  4. ^ "Finalist nominees for the 2008 Jazz Awards". Jazz Journalists Association. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  5. ^ a b Shteamer, Hank (2006-11-30). "Roots Radical". Time Out New York (New York: Time Out Group Ltd.). Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  6. ^ "Coin Coin". Matana Roberts. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  7. ^ Ryshpan, David (2007). "Matana Roberts’ Coin Coin (Suoni)". Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  8. ^ Flynn, Mike (2008-01-14). "Matana Roberts". Time Out London (London: Time Out Group Ltd.). Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  9. ^ Reynolds, Nick (2008-02-08). "Matana Roberts Chicago Project: Review". BBC Music. BBC. Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  10. ^ Allegro Media (2007-11-06). "Saxophone Maven Matana Roberts Releases the Chicago Project on Central Control International February 2008". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  11. ^ Longley, Martin (January 2010). "The Stone" (PDF). All About Jazz - New York (New York: (93): 7. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  12. ^ "ATP curated by Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel) - All Tomorrow's Parties". Retrieved 2015-04-03. 
  13. ^ "Matana Roberts". Retrieved 2015-04-03. 

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