Matana Roberts : saxophone

Matana Roberts

Matana Roberts

Matana 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.

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 sec­ond record­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with bassist Joshua Abrams and drummer/percussionist Chad Tay­lor — known as sticks&stones was released to crit­i­cal acclaim on Thrill Jock­ey records in June of 2004.(

She has played along­side such musi­cal lumi­nar­ies as Steve Lacy, Eugene Chadbourne,Hery Grimes, Han­nah Mar­cus, Fred Ander­son, Nicole Mitchell, Jeff Park­er, Robert Bar­ry, Joe Maneri, Miya Masao­ka, Vijay Iyer, David Boykins, and Ralph Alessi.