Renga Ensemble

Clarinetist and composer James convened the Renga Ensemble for a series in Chicago and a recording. Falzone hand-picked the ensemble, which included some of today’s most innovative clarinet and bass saxophone players. It was intended that the ensemble of such varied players, many of them never having played together before, would allow each voice to be heard and challenged by another voice. The Chicago Cultural Center, The Hideout and the Elastic Art Foundation hosted the concerts. Preview articles were published in The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Reader. James named the group Renga after an ancient form of Japanese collaborative poetry in which two or three poets combine their words into one meditative piece. James’ compositions were written specifically for this project around a haiku from American poet Anita Virgil. The titles of many of the compositions make up her brazenly clear yet emotionally compelling poem: from

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