Matana Roberts

Matana Roberts is an internationally renowned composer, band leader, saxophonist, sound experimentalist and mixed-media practitioner.


Roberts works in many contexts and mediums, including improvisation, art, dance, poetry, and theater. They made two records as a core member of the Sticks And Stones quartet in the early 2000s and have gone on to release a diverse body of solo and ensemble work under their own name on Constellation and Central Control over the past decade.

'A major talent' — The Wire

Matana is perhaps best known for their acclaimed Coin Coin project, a multi-chapter work of 'panoramic sound quilting' that aims to expose the mystical roots and channel the intuitive spirit-raising traditions of American creative expression while maintaining a deep and substantive engagement with narrativity, history, community and political expression within improvisatory musical structures. Constellation began documenting the Coin Coin project in 2011 and has released four of a projected twelve album-length chapters to date.

Coin Coin Chapter Four: Memphis unspools as a continuous work of 21st century liberation music, oscillating between meditative incantatory explorations, raucous melodic themes, and unbridled free-improv suites, quoting archly and ecstatically from various folk traditions along the way. Led by Roberts’ conduction and unique graphic score practice, their consummate saxophone and clarinet playing, and punctuated by their singing and speaking various texts generated from their own historical research and diaristic writings, Coin Coin Chapter Four is a glorious and spellbinding new instalment in this projected twelve-part Gesamtkunstwerk.


John Stevens