Matana Roberts’ Coin Coin, Chapter 2
Monday 9 April at 11pm on BBC Radio 3
Who knows what jazz will sound like in 10 years’ time? But we can reasonably expect that the epic project we’ve got on this week’s programme will only just be nearing its conclusion. And if it’s still as good then as it is now, pencil it in for one of the highlights of 2022.
Back to the present, and this week’s performance – the second instalment of Chicagoan saxophonist Matana Roberts’ odyssey through African-American history – Coin Coin. Talking (and singing) to me in the studio, she describes the music as having its roots in a ‘backwater, Mississippi-sounding church’ style. There’s over an hour of unbroken music to immerse yourselves in, and from the earliest moments, blending gospel melodies, collective free improvisation and an operatic preacher figure, it’s clear we’re in for something out of the ordinary. Ideas cut in and out, rarely settling for long, but the sextet moves seamlessly between heavy, New Orleans-style blues and freer sections more reminiscent of Roberts’ home city. And as we go, recurring themes begin to emerge, weaving the tapestry together.
Before all that, I’ve got my latest pick from the BBC Introducing uploader, the suitably nocturnal Olivia’s Owls. It’s a good time to mention that we’ll be selecting musicians who have uploaded music to this site for a BBC Introducing stage at this year’s Manchester Jazz Festival – so if you think you or someone you know might fit the bill, please do send me your music!
Join me for all this on Monday 9 April from 11pm, or listen online for seven days after broadcast.