Release Date: May 10, 2011
Record label: Constellation
Genre(s): Jazz, Avant-Garde Jazz, Experimental Big Band
Independent rock labels have made great headway in turning on listeners to challenging, cutting-edge jazz. Homestead and Henry Rollins’ defunct 213 and Infinite Zero labels helped expose David S. Ware, Matthew Shipp, and William Parker to more casual jazz fans in the early 90s, and these and other avant jazz artists have been doing great work for Thirsty Ear’s Blue Series over the last decade.
It might sound far-fetched that one record could change your mind about a whole genre of music, but you should keep reading, because Gens de Couleur Libres will make you like jazz. Any preconceptions you may have had about free jazz being complacent or noodly will be shattered: Coin Coin is a project so ambitious that to describe it makes it sound more like an art installation than an album. She does things with jazz I didn't think possible.
Review Summary: The jazz album of 2011. "Rise" is a pretty good slab of free jazz, but while listening to it, I had to question what was supposed to make it so special other than the release date. It's always a little downheartening when you see an album become one of the most acclaimed of its year (something that is happening to Coin Coin Chapter One at an alarming pace) despite sounding thirty years old; good as the album in question may be, it just serves to illustrate that so much of popular music is just running around in circles.
An ambitious work, and all of its aims have surely been fulfilled. Martin Longley 2011 The Chicagoan alto saxophonist and composer Matana Roberts has been dwelling in NYC for most of the last decade, where she has no regular band, but plenty of ongoing collaborators. She's keen to assemble crews in other cities, in similar fashion to that of the old Can singer Damo Suzuki.