The project takes its name from her maternal forebear Marie Thérèze Coincoin, a fabled Southern figure who, living as a free black woman in mid-18th-century Louisiana, bought her children out of slavery. Various Coin Coin installments have also dealt with Roberts’s paternal relatives in Mississippi and her family’s participation in the Great Migration.
“Coincoin was the first example of the strong female archetype that I was ever given as a child,” she says. “She had no business acumen and no education and just learned by observing. But there are a lot of discrepancies in the documentation [of her], so I’m also trying to touch on lore.”
Each of the many musical episodes that make up the wonderfully moving follow-up, Mississippi Moonchile—which Roberts will reprise at Tonic on Tuesday 5—was named after one of her Southern ancestors. The saxist based the narration in the piece on interviews with her octogenarian paternal grandmother. “She has this really thick, beautiful Mississippi accent that I still can’t decipher,” she says with fond exasperation. “For a while, I kept asking, ‘What’d you say?’ But she was getting annoyed, so I just wrote exactly what I heard.”
She's joined by Shoko Nagai (piano), Hill Green (bass), Tomas Fujiwara (drums), Beatrice Anderson (voice) & Jason Palmer (trumpet).
8 PM at Tonic. $10.