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REVIEW of John Vames’ CD by Bill Webb

Written and performed by John Vames
With World Percussionist, Will Clipman
Executive Producer, Sherry Vames

Most folks with an interest in learning to play the Native American Style Flute have heard of John Vames, who authored both “The Native American Flute: Understanding The Gift” and “Song For Koko: An Introduction to Jazz for the Native American Flute”, which are both interactive guidebooks. Many of us have “cut one’s teeth” on learning how to play the flute with at least the first mentioned title. Unfortunately the flute world lost Mr. Vames in July of 2010 and is certainly poorer for that.

But his music lives on. Thanks to the discovery after his death of recorded (between 2003 and 2010) but unpublished flute music on his computer and the loving thoughtfulness of his wife, Mrs. Sherry Vames, a CD of 13 selected songs is now available for us all to enjoy (thank you Mrs. Vames). Below is the track listing:

1. Remembrance
2. The Wedding
3. Your Own Special Way
4. Child’s Play
5. Sweet
6. As Above So Below
7. Lost on the Rez
8. The Gift
9. Call to Spring
10. Broken Wing
11. Blue Flute
12. Letting Go
13. After The Rain

Not knowing Mr. Vames personally or having even the pleasure of meeting him but only vicariously through his books, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when I purchased this CD (or even if I should be “expecting” anything…). After setting aside an hour or so of time, where I could sit without interruption and listen to it all the way through, as the last notes of the final song trailed off, the first thought that came into my mind about the whole compilation of songs on the CD was “O Wow”!
What a treasure this music is. It is a splendidly produced tribute to him and an excellent demonstration of his fantastic composing and playing skills. His amazing versatility with the Native American style flute comes shining through in this collection of songs and there was not one that didn’t completely capture my attention and transport me into his music.
This is a very open and honest collection of solo (for the most part) flute music untarnished and unvarnished by heavy electronics or competing instruments. The inclusion of the very talented Mr. Will Clipman’s percussion on only certain tracks was just right. I have well over a hundred CDs of flute music and “Remembrance” immediately earned a spot right on the top shelf. The highest compliment I can pay is, when the last song ended, it left me wanting so much more.
For more information about this CD you can go to: Flute Journey Workshops

I sent these words to Sherry Vames in August of 2010 and I believe that John’s teachings and inspirations go on here and now on earth and in heaven: “Condolances and sadness for our/your loss. John will play for more and teach more than he ever could here, now in Heaven. I missed your open house where I could have shared a more loveing tribute to John. He pleased me with music and helped me be better.”


One comment on “REVIEW of John Vames’ CD by Bill Webb

  1. Sorry to be so slow to get to this, Lenny! Nice review. Having had both the PLEASURE & PRIVILEGE of knowing John and studying with him, I expected no less than the remarkable CD that these songs provided. He was/is a treasure. I'm so glad his wife, Sherry, found this music he left behind and shared it with all of us. 🙂

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