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COIN COIN Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile is the much-anticipated new installment of Matana Roberts’ unique and forward-looking project and it finds Roberts conjuring some of the most nuanced, thoughtful and substantial American liberation music of the 21st century.
Mississippi Moonchile was developed for an intimately woven New York jazz sextet and represents the next leap forward in Roberts’ iconoclastic and complex project of memory and recuperation, where historical and contemporary musical tropes, fragmentary spoken and sung narratives, and Matana’s cascading alto saxophone are supported by prodigiously talented players.
Chapter Two unfolds as a cohesive album-length piece, playing with notions of dignity, rarefaction and restraint. The six players are in a perpetual motion of coalescence and divergence, where melodic themes, occasional ostinato passages, and variously deployed literal voices serve to rally the overriding theme of individual narratives and personal expressions as struggles with, celebrations of and threads within collective history. The contortions of empowerment, pride, shame, suffering, eulogy, empathy, liberation and transcendence are Matana’s raw material in the broadest and most specific senses; she has given this raw material another beautiful and compelling shape in the second chapter of the COIN COIN story.