Great Mystery: Here & Now Sacred Mountain Records

Review By Sandra Hale Schulman
News From Indian Country 7-09

Recorded in Arizona on a bluff overlooking Verde River, Great Mystery is a very apt title for the way this soaring, earthy, spirit-infused record was made.

Flutes, strings, percussion and vocals waft and pound and twist and eddy around each other in a way that suggests the natural world in all it’s directions.

The CD’s creators call it a “musical conversation” whose depth and beauty are only fully revealed with close listening.  The convergence of the players – a varied group of professionals – is what makes Great Mystery such a wonder. 

Milton Tso (Navajo) is a flute player who interprets traditional tribal influences in a modern way. He is also a photographer, his work graces the cover of the CD.

Charles Button is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, arranger, producer and engineer who still had time to add bass grooves, guitar, and keys to embellish the music as a whole.

Anthony Betoney is mainly known as a singer of traditional Navajo round dance songs. Here he allows the hypnotic, melodic flow of the music to bend his vocals in more mysterious ways.

Co-producer of the album, along with Button, Will Clipman is a four-time Grammy nominee and two-time Nammy winner. Pan-global percussionist Clipman is best known for his stellar work with Canyon Records and with famed flautist R. Carlos Nakai. Clipman gives the CD its musical heartbeat, steadying and gently anchoring the ebb and sway.

Evocative tracks The Touch of Dawn; Windwalker, Dark Moon Night; and Buffalo Run shine with emotion, while Sacred Heart pulses with flute playing. Harmony Trail shows off Betoney’s innovative chanting.

A shimmering work that clocks in at over 50 minutes, Great Mystery shows that the Here and Now is timeless.