Review and photographs by J Hunter
Although my New Year’s resolution was to bring different types of music into my daily life, Imani Winds came to me through my primary musical idiom, which is jazz: In 2008, the New York-based quintet collaborated with second-generation jazzer Chris Brubeck on his three-movement Third Stream composition, “Vignettes for Nonet”; the results appear on the Brubeck Brothers’ disc Classified. And while those pieces are very beautiful, they only offer a taste of the magical mastery tour Imani Winds can take you on when they’re playing their own game.
Jazz is indeed part of Imani’s game, and we saw elements of that genre during the two beautiful sets they laid down in front of a sparse mid-week crowd at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz smilingly calls the quintet’s music “classical with a twist”; mind you, that doesn’t mean they’re giving their primary genre the Boston Pops treatment – i.e. dumbing it down for “classical-curious” listeners so promoters can fill seats. Put simply, you don’t include Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” in your program – which Imani did – if you want to keep the punters interested.