The Imani Winds completed their first year as the Don Michael Randel Ensemble in Residence at the University of Chicago at a concert last Wednesday. Held under the auspices of the University of Chicago Presents, the five-member group performed at the Logan Center in an evening of music celebrating the centenary of the birth of poet Gwendolyn Brooks.
Imani Winds opened the concert with an original composition by group member and French horn player Jeff Scott. “Titilayo”(Yoruba for “eternal joy”) began with clarinetist Mark Dover setting the effervescent mood. This call and response piece was peppy and good fun.
This was followed by another original work by a member of the quintet. Valerie Coleman’s “Suite: Portraits of Josephine”is a piece inspired by Josephine Baker based on an eight movement work, reduced in this suite to only four movements. “St. Louis”had lots of hustle and bustle while “Les Milandes,”about Baker’s chateau, was sadly ponderous and meandering. “Paris 1925”was full of energy and featured captivating work by oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz. The concluding movement, “Thank you Josephine,”was the prettiest part of the work.