January 8, 2010
Contact: Sara R. Leonard
Concert and Production Manager

AMHERST, Mass. – Faultlines: Mapping Jazz in the 21st Century, the yearlong Amherst College music festival, kicks off its spring schedule with a mini-residency by New York saxophonist Matana Roberts. Roberts will give a talk on her extensive oral history-based multimedia work COIN COIN in Room 7 of the ArmsMusicCenter on the college’s campus starting at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4. She will then perform sections of COIN COIN as a soloist and with a student ensemble in Buckley Recital Hall starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5. Both events are free of charge and open to the public.

“We are thrilled to have Matana on campus for several days,” notes Faultlines curator and Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Jason Robinson. “She’s a remarkable musician, an ardent conceptualist, an artist with a profound community ethos and a dominant voice in New York’s creative music community.”

Roberts’ visit is focused around the presentation of her multi-movement “sound narrative” COIN COIN, an expansive work that explores “the intricacies, contradictions and questions surrounding the human bloodline experience.” “[T]here are some things that just can't be told after all—they have to be experienced,” explained Nate Chinen of The New York Times recently, celebrating COIN COIN’s profoundly personal narrative. Joined by a group of Amherst College student jazz performers, Roberts will perform Chapter 1 of COIN COIN, “Gens de Couleur Libre / Free People of Color,” at the Friday concert, a movement of the piece exploring Roberts’ diverse Cane River, New Orleans and Nachatoches heritages.

Roberts is a Chicago native and a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and the Black Rock Coalition (BRC).  A 2006 Van Lier fellow, Brecht Forum fellow and 2008 and 2009 Alpert Award in the Arts nominee, Roberts has appeared as a collaborator on recordings and performances in the United States, Canada and Europe with her own ensembles as well as with the collaborative jazz trio Sticks and Stones, Black Rock Coalition founder Greg Tate’s Burnt Sugar, Reg E Gaines and Savion Glover’s homage project to the late John Coltrane, the Oliver Lake Big Band and the Julius Hemphill Sextet and Merce Cunningham Dance Company. She recently released an homage project to her hometown, entitled The Chicago Project, on Barry Adamson’s Central Control International, produced by pianist extraordinaire Vijay Iyer and featuring friends and supporters of her Chicago development. She has also worked on recordings with such iconic bands as Godspeed You Black Emperor, TV on the Radio, Guillermo Scott Herren’s Savath and Savalas, Silver Mt. Zion and sound artist Daniel Given’s Day Clear/Day Dark. Roberts has played alongside some of the most intriguing creative sound visionaries of our time and currently resides in New York City.

Faultlines events will include featured concerts, performance workshops and talks, all free and open to the public and all guaranteed to generate passionate debate about the nature of jazz and its relationship to American cultural identity.  The festival is made possible through the generous support of the Amherst College Arts Series Fund, Amherst College Department of Music, AmherstCollegeMeadArt Museum and UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center’s Solos and Duos Concert Series and Magic Triangle Concert Series.

For more information about this or any other events associated with Faultlines: Mapping Jazz in the 21st Century, visit the festival website at www.amherst.edu/faultlines.