Imani Winds unleashed a hurricane of creativity in New Orleans on Monday, bringing the 2012-2013 season of the Friends of Music to a glorious climax with snapping fingers, an audience sing-along and an astounding blend of jazz expressivity and classical chops. The concert, at Tulane University’s Dixon Hall, made it clear why this quintet has been tapped to work with superstars like Wayne Shorter and Yo-Yo Ma.

It also made one wonder why it took 58 years to get “Afro Blue” on the playlist for the long-running chamber music series. That encore, penned by Mongo Santamaria and arranged by Imani flutist Valerie Coleman, began with a blues-drenched call-to-prayer and evolved into hip-swaying marketplace dance number.

On Monday, the New York ensemble showed telepathic rapport as they performed genre-busting works by its two player-composers: Coleman (flute) and Jeff Scott (French horn). The group also showed its range with a program that featured a pastoral charmer by Debussy, Lalo Schifrin’s jazz-informed quintet, “La Nouvelle Orleans,” and a Louisiana-themed composition by jazzman Jason Moran.

Debussy’s “Bruyeres” (arranged by Jakob Kowalewski) was a showcase for Imani’s ensemble sound -- and the players’ skills at blending and balancing five disparate winds. In the works that drew more directly on jazz ideas, the Imani players shifted their approach, celebrating the variety of their instrumental sound with playing that suggested 5-way conversations. Beneath all the harmonic and rhythmic complexities, one often felt the call-and-response patterns of African-rooted music.

When the Imani players swung, there was no doubt about their comfort with jazz styles.

Scott mimicked the half-valve growls of a trumpet with his French Horn. Bassoonist Monica Ellis became a one-woman rhythm section, pumping out bass ostinatos and punctuating the music with a deep, call-from-the-forest that sometimes suggested a didgeridoo. Coleman flickered and flew on flute and piccolo. The oboe became a bluesy, snake charmer in the hands of Tovin Spellman-Diaz. Clarinetist Mariam Adam deftly linked the creamy lower register of her instrument with vaulting high notes and bluesy cries. She would have fit comfortably in an Ellington reed section.

The Imani players poured all that virtuosity into a reed-crunching, physical account of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.” What might have been a novelty – five winds imitating an orchestra of over 100 players – radiated authenticity in the Imani account. It was dance music, and ritual music – and it never lost momentum for a second.