Category: Blog

Native American Flute ~ Jazz Instrument?

Most don’t think of jazz music when someone mentions the Native American flute. The instrument is best known for a sound that’s usually described as ethereal, spiritual, haunting — the traditional allure of the native flute. But tradition is being upended, and artists around the world are blending the Native American flute into a variety of genres, including jazz fusion. As the new album Within the Mystic from musician and author C.S. Fuqua attests, the native flute is gradually becoming known as an instrument for all genres. 

Fuqua’s first six albums, WindPoem ~ Native American Flute Meditations I-VI, celebrate the traditional sound of the native flute. On his seventh album, Different Direction, Fuqua began an exploration of the flute’s range, incorporating it into music that combines influences from bluegrass, rock, jazz, and traditional music to create a genre best described as world fusion. Within the Mystic continues to expand the flute’s range, drawing on an eclectic blend of styles and genres to create a sound that is as familiar as it is unique.

Musicians and composers worldwide are increasingly exploring the native flute as far more than an instrument of traditional music. Performers such as Jonny Lipford, R. Carlos Nakai, and the jazz band The Rippingtons have incorporated the flute’s haunting melodies into jazz, rock, blues, and classical compositions. Nakai, while best known for his traditional native flute work, was one of the first innovators of the native flute, collaborating with numerous musicians and composers in a variety of genres. Yet, despite the efforts of these artists, the native flute remains stereotyped.

Fuqua’s Within the Mystic contains twelve cuts of world jazz, with native flute featured as primary instrument in most of the songs. As more artists produce albums featuring the native flute in various genres, the instrument will continue to expand its range and popularity, securing a deserved presence in bands of all genres, creating a multi-cultural celebration for the ears.

Within the Mystic is available for streaming and/or purchase from most major music platforms, including Pandora, Deezer, Amazon.com, iTunes, and Fuqua’s music website http://csfuqua.bandcamp.com where the album can be previewed in its entirety.

Fuqua has researched and published extensively on the history, mythology, and crafting of the Native American flute. He’s the author of the acclaimed A Comprehensive Guide ~ The Native American Flute ~ History & Craft. He released the first WindPoem album in 2014. His WindPoem ~ Infinite album was a finalist in the 2019 New Mexico Music Awards. He is available for presentations on the history and craft of the Native American flute. For more information, please contact him at fuqua.cs@gmail.com or visit http://csfuqua.com and http://csfuqua.bandcamp.com.