“One of the most important singers of all times”
The Washington Post
Reviews
Imani: Calling You PDF Print E-mail
Reviews

By Thomas Conrad

Calling You
Imani
IFP 0807

...An espresso - voiced song-weaver of rich, earthy texture and stunning vibrancy.

 
New York PDF Print E-mail
Reviews

All About Jazz-New York

by Suzanne Lorge
February 2009

DC-based vocalist/percussionist Imani has a deep, expressive voice equally at home on a jazz tune, a pop tune or a Hindi chant. All of these (and more) appear on her new CD Calling You (IFP Records).

 
Imani: Calling You PDF Print E-mail
Reviews

December 2007, Volume 37/Number 10
By Thomas Conrad

Calling You
Imani
IFP 0807

In searching for the finest practitioners of that rather amorphous form known as world music, it's only natural to lean one's ear toward Africa and beyond. Occasionally, though, the search need extend no further than our own backyard. Superlative case in point: South Carolina-born, Washington, D.C.-based Imani, an espresso-voiced song-weaver of rich, earthy texture and stunning vibrancy. Working with fellow Capital craftsmen Pepe González (Imani's bassist and producer, but also the beacon who lights her creative path), pianist Jon Ozment and drummer Greg Holloway, she travels from strength to strength, proving as skilled at weightlessly flowing with the gentle current of "Lazy Afternoon" as at laying bare the sensual heart of Neil Young's "Down By the River," loosening Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" from its pop roots to expose what a gorgeous ballad it truly is, capturing both the lonely chill and fevered yearning of Joni Mitchell's "Blue Motel Room," wordlessly scaling the towering grandeur of González's "Canto" (while simultaneously paying homage to John Coltrane) then wallowing in the dusky contemplation of his "The Color of Serenity," and embracing the sunlit joy of the traditional Hindi chant "Bada Chitta Chora." Perhaps hers is not "world" music in the spirit of, say, Césaria Evora or Miriam Makeba, but it is a border-blurring world of music second to none.


 
Imani: Between Here and There PDF Print E-mail
Reviews



May 2000, Volume 30/Number 4
By Nancy Ann Lee

Between Here and There
Imani
IFP 1099 (54:57)

The ease of producing CDs and the proliferation of small, independent labels is broadening exposure for many artists, including this divergent, rising-star vocalist supported by solid musicians. Imani, with her mature, fluent approach and well-selected material shows greatest promise for appealing to the broadest jazz audience.

Vocalist Imani commands listener attention, generating abundant excitement as she weaves her magic with a homogenous group of musicians and guests who swing and solo with classy verve. Phrasing like a seductive horn player, Imani exhibits poised, resourceful vocal maneuvering throughout the attractive 11-tune mix of standards and outstanding original compositions by her bassist Pepe González. Highlights abound throughout the diverse fare of Between Here and There (a follow-up to her previous IFP CD, Collage). Notable tracks include her uptempo rendition of Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay,” a free-wheeling take on Wayne Shorter’s “Juju” and a refreshingly reverent reading of Billy Strayhorn’s “Chelsea Bridge.” Imani’s insightful, all-embracing technique (including Spanish lyrics and Yoruban chants) surely merits future tracking with her surefooted adventurousness, especially if she continues to record with core musicians Jon Ozment (piano), González (bass), Rod Youngs (drums), and Ekendra Das (percussion). Playing on four tracks each, guesting reed players Chris Vadala and Paul Carr add substantially to this bewitching listen.
 
Imani: Between Here and There PDF Print E-mail
Reviews


CLAVE
A Journal of Latin American Arts & Culture
December 1999
By Susan K. Oetgen

Between Here and There
Imani
IFP 1099 (54:57)

The distance between here and there would be impossible to travel without clear vision and a good set of directions. Imani is blessed with both on her new release, Between Here and There. This album invites us to follow her not only through an out-of-the-ordinary jazz repertoire, but also through sounds and impressions of distant places and times. What might seem at first a scattershot selection of jazz, pop, folk, and "world" music becomes a colorful mosaic of image and feeling and spirituality held together by the consistent authenticity of Imani’s vocal presence. She sings every song with her soul rooted firmly in it, and knows exactly what part of the journey it is. It helps that Jon Ozment (piano), Pepe González (bass), Rod Young (drums) and Ekendra Das (percussion) are also consummate artists; they faithfully accompany Imani through this varied terrain, but always remain grounded in a crisp jazz swing. Contemporary jazz may be the "here" of this album’s departure, but its undeniable destination is the eruption of musical joy on the last track, Contemplation/Yemayá, a piece ending and beginning with a traditional chant to the Yoruba deity of the oceans. Imani brings us "there" on the crest of her creativity and passion.

 


Video Gallery


Imani & Wynton Marsalis with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at Festival de Jazz de Montréal (2007)


Imani - Iris (2009)