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, Aarhus Denmark (2015)
Photo Hreinn Gudlaugsson

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[edit]

  • Sticks and Stones (482 Music, 2002)
  • Sticks and Stones, Shed Grace (Thrill Jockey, 2004)
  • Lines for Lacy (self-release, 2006)
  • The Calling (Utech, 2007)
  • The Chicago Project (Central Control, 2008)
  • Live in London (Central Control, 2011)
  • COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres (Constellation, 2011)
  • COIN COIN Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile (Constellation, 2013)
  • COIN COIN Chapter Three: River Run Thee (Constellation, 2015), solo
  • Always (Relative Pitch, 2015), solo

As collaborator / side woman[edit]

  • DePaul University Jazz Ensemble, Bob Lark, Shade Street (Blue Birdland, 1999)
  • Ras Moshe and the Music Now Society, Schematic (Jump Arts, 2002)
  • Ayelet Gottlieb, InTernal/ExTernal (Genivieve, 2004)
  • Matt Bauder, Paper Gardens (rec. 2006; 482 Music, 2010)
  • Guillermo E. Brown, Handeheld (Melanine Harmonique, 2008)
  • Exploding Star Orchestra featuring Roscoe Mitchell (/ Rob Mazurek), Matter Anti-Matter (Rogueart, 2013)
  • Matana Roberts, Sam Shalabi, Nicolas Caloia, Feldspar (Tour de Bras, 2014)
  • Matana Roberts / Savion Glover / Reg E. Gaines, If 'Trane Was (SG self release)?

With Burnt Sugar[edit]

  • Not April in Paris (Live from Banlieus Bleues) (TruGroid, 2004)
  • If You Can’t Dazzle Them with Your Brilliance, Then Baffle Them with Your Blisluth (TruGroid, 2005)
  • More Than Posthuman – Rise of the Mojosexual Cotillion (TruGroid, 2006)
  • Making Love to the Dark Ages (LiveWired, 2009)

As guest artist[edit]


  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. 

External links[edit]