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


January 31, 1997
By Mike Joyce

Imani’s Collage: A Perfect Patchwork

Perhaps the fastest way to recommend "Collage," the new album by Imani and First Prayer, is to drop a few names familiar to area jazz fans: pianist Maria Rodriguez and Jon Ozment, guitarists Vinny Valentino and Bruce Middle, bassist Pepe González, and trumpeter Tommy Williams. All appear on "Collage," and along with several other fine musicians, including Ghana percussionist Yacub Addy, they indeed create a collage of sounds–exotic and earthy, hypnotic and haunting, inspirational and insinuating. Still, for all the talented instrumentalists and composers gathered here, it’s clear that vocalist Imani is the source of the album’s fundamental soul and spirit. As a singer she sounds at home in each of the album’s diverse settings, whether it’s the Delta-inspired, Cassandra Wilson-like "Blues for the World," the Ghanaian chant "Awo," the unusually upbeat, Afro-Caribbean arrangement of "Speak Low," the dreamy version of John Coltrane’s "Naima" or the spacious and soulful reading of John Lennon’s "Imagine."

As supple as it is warm, her voice casts a nearly album-length spell as it gracefully moves through the textured arrangements, infusing the spiritual, romantic and topical themes with emotional power and sensitivity. Along the way, she and the band consistently defy expectations while mining the core pleasures and passions of jazz, blues, spirituals and pop.


Video Gallery

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

Imani - Iris (2009)