Queen Mab began as a Canadian piano and clarinet duo in the mid-'90s, winning rave reviews for their blending of improvisation and composition with influences from both jazz and classical music. The duo originally consisted of Toronto pianist Marilyn Lerner, who had also led a couple albums of her own and collaborated with various well-known jazz musicians (including Steve Lacy, Jane Bunnett, Paul Plimley, and Paquito d'Rivera), and Lori Freedman, a Winnipeg-based award-winning clarinetist who had made guest appearances with a number of Canadian orchestras, been involved in electro-acoustic music, and performed on over 15 recordings, including her own solo release, Huskless. Queen Mab's first recording, Barbie's Other Shoe, came out in 1997 on multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia's Ninewinds label. It was followed a few years later by Close, released on another independent West Coast avant-garde music label, Spool. On Close, Lerner and Freedman were joined by five guest musicians, each of whom performed with the duo on one of the album's tracks. In addition to recording, Queen Mab toured and performed at major festivals across Canada, from Newfoundland's Sound Symposium to the Vancouver Jazz Festival.
In 2002 the duo toured Canada and the United States with guest Ig Henneman, an improvising violist from Amsterdam, and Henneman subsequently joined the group, newly rechristened as the Queen Mab Trio. In 2004 the trio toured The Netherlands, and the following year saw the release of Queen Mab's debut recording as a three-piece, See Saw, by the Amsterdam-based Wig label (headed by Henneman and her husband, multi-reedist Ab Baars). Also in 2005, the trio embarked on a North American and European tour, performing new music inspired by the Queen Mab Scherzo from Hector Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet symphony. In October of that year, the Queen Mab Trio entered the Guido Tichelman Studio in the Netherlands to record Thin Air, featuring music from the Berlioz-inspired program they had introduced on tour. Thin Air was released by Wig in 2006. In December 2010, Lerner and Freedman -- the original duo members of Queen Mab -- joined the Ig Henneman Sextet, a new ensemble marking Henneman's 65th birthday and 25th anniversary as a composer/bandleader. ~ Joslyn Layne & Dave Lynch, Rovi