Founded in 1997 by the composer and flautist Valerie Coleman, the Grammy-nominated classical quintet Imani Winds is exceptional, first and foremost, for vision and virtuosity. These superb musicians author and arrange music themselves—for flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn and bassoon—and commission new work by prominent composers in and beyond classical music. And in the lily-white world of chamber music, Imani's members are all of African- or Latin-American descent. They mingle these roots with the European repertoire to thrilling ends.
Among a wind transcription of Debussy's piano prelude Bruyères and a streamlined version of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, Imani Winds' local program features the Creole-tinged Cane, an original commission from jazz genius Jason Moran. They'll pair that with Coleman's own Suite: Portraits of Josephine Baker, a stirring musical tribute to the iconic Jazz Age entertainer. Meanwhile, the group's only male—French horn player Jeff Scott—shows off his sparkling talents as both a composer and an arranger—the former on his percolating original song "Startin' Sumthin'," the latter on his driving arrangement of Argentine tango master Ástor Piazzolla's Libertango. —Brian Howe