In Conversation with Matana Roberts, ISSUE’s Current Artist-in-Residence (September-December, 2009) – ISSUE Project Room.

I received a lot of help from elder saxophonists Fred Anderson and Von Freeman. There were other elder musicians around as well, but mainly in being around Fred and Von I felt like I was learning from artists who really lived their lives – like the way they learned how to play was by truly living life and very organically turning this into music. And for me, being around those types of elders, combined with a peer group of musicians who were in Chicago at that time – like Josh Abrams, Chad Taylor, Nicole Mitchell, Rob Mazurek; people who were making music at very high level at a really young age – was all just really inspiring and important to my musical development. Having had all these experiences by the time I left Chicago, I had a pretty clear sense of what my voice was. I don’t think I could have gained that anywhere else.