Oliver Lake: Montana Grass Song


Montana Grass Song


Oliver Lake (alto sax)


Oliver Lake Quartet Live (Passin Thru 41221)

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Oliver Lake (alto sax),

Mary Redhouse (Native American flute, vocals), Santi Debriano (bass), Gene Lake (drums)


Traditional Blackfoot chant


Recorded: The Knitting Factory, New York, May 19, 2001


Rating: 80/100 (learn more)

Mary Redhouse, the Navajo Yoko Ono, introduces this “powwow song from the Blackfoot people of Montana.” Blackfoot tradition, however, discourages spoken introductions, prominent singing by women, instrumental accompaniment (except drums) and extrinsic influences. All of which renders Redhouse’s self-styled "eco-spiritual" 5-octave vocalizing, set against Oliver Lake’s 1960s-style Free Jazz, enough to launch Blackfoot tribal elders on the warpath. Jazz has always been eclectic, drawing from other genres as indiscriminately as vampires siphon blood. But haven’t some subcultures earned the right to be left alone? A genuinely "eco-spiritual" approach to Native American music would respect its authenticity, not jazz it up.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz


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