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Performance: Matana Roberts—Coin Coin 3: river run thee


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Matana Roberts is one of the most acclaimed and sociopolitically conscious avant-garde jazz practitioners of the 21st century. Enjoy a performance of her stylistically daring solo work inspired by travels through the American South.

Presented with Constellation

Support for Live Arts programming is provided by the Woman’s Board of the Art Institute of Chicago.

*Museum admission is free for Illinois residents every Thursday, 5:00–8:00—including during this event.

About Coin Coin Chapter 3: River Run Thee

The critical accolades for Matana Roberts’s 12-part Coin Coin series place her at the vanguard of stylistic innovation and radicalization, while confirming the deep substance and soul that guide her compositional agenda. Roberts has long described Coin Coin as “panoramic sound quilting,” a metaphor she overtly implements with this third chapter—a sound-art tapestry created from field recordings, loop and effects pedals, and spoken word recitations, alongside her saxophone and singing voices. Coin Coin Chapter 3: River Run Thee unfolds as an uninterrupted album-length flow, in what Roberts calls “a fever dream” of sonic material, inspired by a solitary research-based road trip Roberts took through the American South in early 2014.

Fragments of traditional songs are the album’s main touchstones, with Roberts’s voice riding atop waves of radiophonic texture, layered spoken word, and an often dislocated, wandering horn. This chapter is the first explicitly solo work in the Coin Coin series, and a fascinating extension of the cycle; yet another adventurous, socially engaged definition of what jazz can mean in this day and age.


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