Led by composer/violinist Renee' Baker, the sixteen-piece Mantra Blue Free Orchestra performs freely-improvised and/or through-composed pieces that cannot be pigeonholed into any preconceived musical category. The diverse and multicultural group features instrumentalists and vocalists pulled from many different musical scenes in Chicago, including avant-garde flutist Nicole Mitchell, progressive metal electric violinist Chuck Bontrager, jazz bassist Karl E. H. Seigfried, and members of both the Chicago Sinfonietta and the AACM (Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians).

MBFO's debut recording on Imaginary Chicago will be released in 2009.

"An uncommonly versatile player who seems to thrive in unusual settings, violinist Renee Baker has made the Velvet Lounge her laboratory for delving into jazz-meets-classical ventures. The Mantra Blue Free Orchestra pushes further still, bringing together instrumentalists from the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and the Chicago Sinfonietta, as well as modern jazz and alternative rock idioms. With personnel such as flutist Nicole Mitchell, trombonist Steve Berry, saxophonist David Boykin and violinist James Sanders, it clearly has a great deal going for it."
- Chicago Tribune