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Classical Underground
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2005
Wind quintets don't have to be staid; sometimes they're subversive. Imani Winds horn player Jeff Scott, for example, has arranged "Afro," the final movement of Cuban composer Paquito D'Rivera's Aires Tropicales (1994), adding a mysterious introduction with chimes, bongos, rattles and moans to the flute trills and bassoon ostinato, reinterpreting "what is on the page." On flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and French horn, the five wind players of Imani -- it means "faith" in Swahili -- aim to create "urban classical music," and certainly their reading of Aires is less traditional than those of the Aspen and Dorian wind quintets.

Flutist Valerie Coleman has composed an Afro-Cuban Concerto for Wind Quintet that concludes with a galloping "Danza." Scott's arrangement of Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla's "Liber Tango" features clarinet pulses and horn shouts; he even layers R&B rhythms into his spiritual "Homage to Duke."

In the next four months, these Winds will swirl through Portland, Seattle and Eugene. If you've lost hope that there's anything new under the classical sun, they'll help you keep the Imani.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2005
This CD is an edgy, fresh look at the genre of the woodwind quintet. Instead of the typical 20th century (mostly French) literature that woodwind quintets typically perform, the Imani Winds have sought out (and composed) works by African American and Latin American composers. The result is an energetic, technically-demanding, and passionate recording of great music.

You'll never think of woodwind quintets the same way again.
-Shelley Collins, flute teacher in Cleveland, MS
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2005
Vitality oozes from Imani Winds' latest release, Classical Underground. The quintet plays with astonishing virtuosity and a warm and tight sense of ensemble, but the freshness is what I find truly invigorating. This isn't your father's wind quintet. The diverse repertoire, which includes original music by two of the players, is full of joy and energy. At the same time, there is a serious and driven quality to the disc. Imani Winds seem to know that there is something different about them - and this realization comes across in an inspiring way.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2007
This quintet has been going strong for about 10 years but they keep getting better all the time. The Grammy-nominated album breaks new ground for wind quintets. Many of the arrangements of Jeff Scott (horn) and Valerie Coleman (flute) as well as their collaborations with Paquito D'Rivera aren't what you hear from traditional quintets--these are self-described "classical musicians" who would be formidable in a symphonic wind section. But add afro-latin-inspired percussion and some vocalese and they produce something more from an Argentenian tango hall or a Cuban club . One of the best new classical albums of the year and highly recommended.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2005
This disc blew me away. Especially the Coleman and Schifrin pieces. The playing and sound of the recording are wonderful. Great musicians and great musical taste add up to a wonderful experience. Congratulations, this will be an award winner!
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on March 12, 2011
I enjoy woodwind music, so I thought I knew what I was purchasing when I bought this CD. Although I was looking forward to listening to this CD knowing that it had been nominated for a Grammy, I was thrilled to hear each new track. I was pleasantly surprised at the diversity of the styles on each piece performed. Instead of listening to the CD as "background music" while doing something else, I have to stop and listen intently to each performance. It is one of my happier CD acquisitions this year.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This is the first classical recording I ever bought, and it's fabulous. Lively, interesting, eclectic. And a tight, tight ensemble that's obviously totally uninterested in the status quo. Great music.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2008
I just listened to this CD for the first time, & I'm so impressed. It gave me a classical feeling, no doubt about that. The selections are very professionally played, & very well recorded. The music obviously provides more contrasts, but it has its wonderful serene movements. The star piece is the concerto by V. Coleman, with its mesmerising middle movement. The music on the CD is new, full of colors, a little ironic at times, & as is said in the booklet,is a mixture of everything. I enjoyed this new experience very much. I wish to have more music by this group. There is over 70 minutes of wonderful sound, very well spaced, with sizeable sensible movements Very original. Highly recommended.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2009
Super! Super musicians . . . super arrangements . . . super music. I keep playing it . . . it's classical and contemporary but not too far out.
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