Al Jewer is a respected record producer, engineer, artist and composer, but most importantly a terrific flute player. As a studio musician for the last 20 years, his work in all genres of music reads like a quilt of musical styles. He has played Early Music, Classical, Folk, Jazz, Celtic, Reggae, Rock, Poetry Fusion and Experimental music. However, nine years ago he discovered the beauty of the Native American flute and its simple yet profound music. Through this experience Al has found his true musical voice.
He started playing flute in 1971, and has studied with many teachers including Emil Moro in Detroit, Jackie Hofto at Interlochen Arts Academy (Interlochen, Michigan), and Dr. Robert K Webb at the University of Wisconsin. He has been principal alto flute with the Whitewater Flute Choir (Whitewater, Wisconsin) for the last 18 years, and plays classical duets as a member of the Soverhill Duo and quartets with the Whitewater String Quartet.
Al founded Laughing Cat Studio in 1984 as a vehicle to record and produce the excellent music of the Midwest including Blackhawk, David Storei and Roxanne Neat, Natty Nation, Weekend Wages and others. In 1994 he started Laughing Cat Records to help bring this fine music directly to the listener. Music appearing on Laughing Cat Records includes Ambient, Native American, Reggae, Classical and Folk. Al’s unique touch as musician, engineer and producer lends a special sound to all these recordings.
Starting in 1988, Al worked for eight years with Wisconsin Native-influenced artist Blackhawk, playing music of the Native American flute and original folk ballads, both in live performance and on eight albums including My Fathers Voice, Journey of the Spirit and others. In late 1995, Al spent eight months in the studio and created Prairie Plain Song, which is his personal statement of peace and harmony with nature. Al says “I let the project go at its own pace, never forcing it to get done. Sometimes songs came quickly, but others took a great deal of time. There was a period of two months where nothing happened at all. However, at the end, the last three songs came in two weeks during a time of great inspiration.”
Experiences with Native American Lakota and Cree culture have had a great influence on Al’s life. He has participated in sacred sweat lodges and has learned about the history and world view of the Native American culture; these experiences have had a profound effect both in his life and in his music. “We are all part of the hoop of life. I thank the Great Spirit, Father Sky and Mother Earth for the gift of music to express my feelings. For me, this is the greatest gift anyone could receive.”
Al’s newest performing and recording project is called CEDAR WIND, a duo with Christine Ibach, a Wisconsin traditional Native Flute player of Cree heritage. Her strong spiritual approach to music combined with Al’s French and English lineage create a unique sound. Their first release is due out in April, 1997, and is titled Feather on the Wind. This recording features all original material; the songs are Native flute melodies with Alto and Bass flute harmonies and the relaxing sounds of nature.
Due out later this fall is Al’s second solo album, a follow-up recording that is sure to be a wonderful musical journey for everyone who has enjoyed Prairie Plain Song. “I have had exciting new ideas and wonderful inspiration this year. I can’t wait to get back in the studio! This music touches everyone who listens with an open heart. Prairie Plain Song is the first of a series of recordings meant for relaxation, meditation and visualization.”
Click HERE to listen to tracks from Prairie Plain Song