Ancient Future History: 1982 to 1988
The Transition Period
After the group's second album, Natural Rhythms, was recorded, Phil Fong joined a punk rock band and was unavailable for touring. In August and September 1981, Matthew Montfort, Benjy Wertheimer and Mindia Klein toured the US. Not long after the tour, Klein left Ancient Future and was replaced by Randy Mead (flutes) and Rick Henderson (sarod) in 1982, and began touring in California, Oregon, and Washington.
After several tours Rick Henderson left the group and was replaced by Marcia Sloane on cello.
On the third Ancient Future record, the group focused on a world chamber music concept featuring Randy Mead on flutes, Marcia Sloan on cello, Matthew Montfort on classical and scalloped fretboard guitar, and Benjy Wertheimer on esraj, tabla and charango. Guest artists Alex De Grassi and Darol Anger of Windham Hill also performed on the record. Following the recording of a self-produced master tape that was shopped to various labels, Narada Records made an offer that included an opportunity to record a second uptempo album as a follow up. Montfort was excited by the prospect of a more uptempo record, and accepted the offer. About that time, Wertheimer and Mead formed a pop vocal band with their wives, and Sloane returned to her classical cello career. Montfort recruited Ian Dogole (percussion), Doug McKeehan (keyboards), and Bruce Bowers (violin, flute) to form a new version of Ancient Future with a jazzier sound, and both line ups contributed their talents to the title track of Quiet Fire, the first record released under the band's contract with Narada.
The Dreamchaser Period
When Narada offered more artistic freedom on a new label they were starting called Sona Gaia, it was gladly accepted. Ancient Future recorded two of its very best releases for this label. Although the Sona Gaia label had a minuscule advertising budget, the records were strong sellers nonetheless that succeeded on their own merits. The first Sona Gaia release, Dreamchaser, showcased some of the jazzier side of Ancient Future's world fusion music. The record debuted at #2 on the May 1989 JAZZIZ National Airplay chart. It received a 10 out of 10 rating in CD Review.