Mountains and Deserts Meet for R. Carlos Nakai

Aug 19, 2016

We check in with the flute player, of Navajo-Ute heritage, as he brings his quartet to the DAC this weekend.

The R. Carlos Nakai Quartet is R. Carlos Nakai on Native American flutes, concert flute, trumpet and voice; Will Clipman on drums, pan-global percussion, and voice; AmoChip Dabney on saxophones, keyboards, acoustic guitar, and voice; and Johnny Walker on bass and voice.
Credit R. Carlos Nakai

R. Carlos Nakai divides his time between western Colorado and southern Arizona.

He summers near Montrose, where he can see the West Elk Mountains in the distance and watch the 'Elk Ladies' wander through his weedy yard.

Winters are spent in Tucson, looking upon seven distinct mountain ranges and listening to birdsong.

The landscape and the wildlife play a major role in R. Carlos Nakai's vision, whether as a solo performer of Native American flute, or as leader of his 'ethnic jazz' ensemble, the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet.

Nakai dropped by our studios in 2015 for a KSUT Session, where he performed a few solo pieces and talked about his custom-made flutes and. You can hear that Session here.

This year, we reached him by phone from his home in Montrose, about a week before his appearance with the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet at the Durango Arts Center. The concert is Sunday August 21 at 7:30 p.m.