White Lightning

Jim Pepper

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Ever since returning from our Alaskan trip, I've been on another trip - a Jim Pepper trip.

(I didn't learn about Pepper's Juneau connection till I was there)

Jim Pepper was a great tenor player imho. His sound is very unique, very original. In a world of Hhendersons/Coltranes/Shorter clones that itself is very noteworthy.

I love his Jazz-Native American synthesis. It sounds so natural when he does it. Who else can make an album with a blues, an Ornette tune, an old ballad (and Polka dots...) and an original based on a Native American chant - and make the album sound coherent and well balances?

Jim pepper was at his best when he worked with Mal Waldron, imo. But his work with Kirk Lightsey was great as well.

Anyone else share a love for this almost forgotten master?

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As fate would have it, I found ART OF THE DUO, with Waldron, in the cutouts at a Hastings in Enid, OK a few weekends ago. Beautiful stuff.

For a long time, the only Jim Pepper I knew was the PEPPER'S POW-WOW LP on Embryo, and I didn't like it at all. Too unfocused, too "stoned" for me. But about 20 years ago, somebody played me a private tape of Pepper & Jack Walrath playing in Boise, Idaho, of all places, and it was extremely compelling music, incredibly daring and quite intense. Since then, I've heard Pepper on other recordings, and dug him every time out.

Definitely a talent deserving wider recognition.

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Yeah, I have two Pepper cds thanks to Ron Thorne, one of the nicest guys on the planet, and I found one to be as Jim describes, stoner and interesting but. . .s t o n e r. The other is quite interesting and intense. One of these days I need to find some more!

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Jim Pepper had a fantastic sound. I love all of his work with Waldron.

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White Lightning, were you the person for whom I provided information concerning jazz venues in Anchorage on Jazz Corner several months ago? I remember a scenario in which someone from Israel was traveling to Alaska and seeking specific information.

To say that I was both surprised and elated to see this thread title would be a huge understatement. Thanks to my buddy, Jim R for the heads up.

Jim Pepper has played a huge role in the life of me and my wife, Patti. We both met Jim at the same time, and shared many moments together, beginning in the early 70's. I'll provide some insight as to my connections with Jim, though I'm sure I'll forget things which will need to be added later.

Jim first came to Anchorage in the early 70's, after working and playing in Juneau at the Red Dog Saloon. We met at KJZZ-FM, where I was working at the time. Jim and I were attracted to one another instantly, but it wasn't until many years later that we'd connect in the best way possible ... through playing his music together.

Patti and I heard Jim within many incarnations of groups he put together in the 70's and 80's, from Pepper's Pow-Wow to Muktuk, and much in-between.

Pepper's Pow-Wow was Jims' very first recording, and yes, it's a bit "out", owing largely to the timeframe in which it was recorded, but I dig it. He was hooked up with Larry Coryell at the time, and headed for fusion history, though neither of them knew it.

Jim Pepper's work with Mal Waldron is legendary, as was their friendship. Our personal friendship with Jim was very special, too. I'll collect my thoughts and listening recommendations for another post.

Yes, Jim Pepper is/was a talent deserving much wider recognition, a point I've been asserting for decades.

pepper.jpg

Edited by Ron Thorne

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Ron,

Yep, that was me who "milked" you for info about Anchorage music scene. Once again, thanks - it was very helpful.

We spent a GREAT month in Alaska, camping and kayaking in Kenai, the southeast and the interior.

Ron, I'll be interested to hear more about Jim Pepper as a person, as a friend. I read that Jim had a somewhat unexpected behaviour due to all kind of problems he had. Is that so?

Thanks.

As a thank you note, and since I seem to remember you love to fish - here's a pic we took in your great state.

55050001.JPG

Edited by White Lightning

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I didn't think I'd ever heard any of Pepper's work, and only just realized that he appeared on an LP I had about 30 years ago:

e94687o9k0d.jpg

He played flute and saxophone on that, but it's been so long since I've heard it, I only vaguely recall some of the flute work (on "beautiful woman"...?)...

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Thanks for sharing that lovely photograph, Barak. You remember correctly ... I love to fly fish. If I'm not mistaken, that's a photo of Jerome Lake on the Kenai Peninsula, just before the "Y" which leads to Seward or Kenai/Soldotna/Homer. Pretty spectacular setting, huh?

Jim, you must hear something much more current than that Coryell disc. I'm offering some suggested listening at the end of this post.

Now, more of my history with Jim Pepper.

The day we met, I did an on-air interview with Jim at K-Jazz which was quite interesting and revealing, to say the least. Jim was always one to inspire, provoke and surprise with words as well as music. Jim wasn't everyone's favorite person, but we had an instantaneous, unspoken understanding of one another, which served us well for about two decades.

Over the years, every time Jim came to Anchorage we'd hook up, even if only briefly. He landed a long-term gig in Anchorage in the mid-70's at a local hotel with another incarnation of the Pepper sound, "Muktuk", a jazz/funk band with guitarist David Haskell from the Bay Area, Jim Zitro on drums and vocalist Jackie Virgil. It was a wild and wooly time in Alaska, with the pipleline being built and money flowing freely. Patti (my wife) and I were frequent visitors at the Gold Rush Inn Hotel while Jim and "Muktuk" were there. I recorded several hours of their material on cassette, which I still have, but need to have properly remixed and mastered. Patti and I spent literally hundreds of hours listening to "Muktuk", enjoying every moment, of course. Jim would make his usual verbal and vocal contributions, too. And, they'd sneak in some straight-ahead jazz tunes and some fusion-oriented material whenever possible, though it was mostly a "dance" band. Damn, were they funky, too!

On other visits in the late 70's/early 80's, Jim brought a number of different incarnations of his jazz group "Pepper's Pow-Wow" to Anchorage to perform in clubs and/or concert venues. Some of those bands included some other great players such as drummer Brent Rampone, bassist Ratso Harris, keyboardist Russell Ferrante (co-founder/Yellowjackets) among others.

Jim and I often talked about jazz in general, certain favorite artists and periods in particular. He knew that I was a drummer, but we'd never had a chance to play together. We each said ... "someday, maybe". Well, that someday came totally by surprise one day in June, 1987. You'll see a reference to that very moment in the liners for Dakota Song. I was working as Marketing Director for a really hip music store in Anchorage, and was in my studio working on some graphic layouts when I received a call from Maggie Johnson of the Anchorage Daily News. Maggie is the former wife of (now) Bay Area saxophonist John Firmin (The Johnny Nocturne Band), a friend I'd grown up with and played with over the years in Anchorage. Maggie was entertainment editor at ADN, and she'd received a call from "Pep" in Europe saying that he was coming to Anchorage for an annual gathering of the tribes during our Summer Solstice timeframe ... "Spirit Days", as the grand finale performer. Maggie was calling me because Jim had asked her to find me and see if I'd like to do the gig with him. I damned near fell off my stool. I said "of course, I'd love to play with Jim" and offered my pianist at the time, Igor Agishef, as a potential addition, as well. Jim flew in from France and met Patti and me at a party in Anchorage thrown by the Native leaders who spearheaded this annual event. It was like no time had passed since we last saw one another a couple of years earlier, including Jim flirting with Patti. We partied for most of the night with Jim, recalling old times, etc. Jim arranged for a brief afternoon rehearsal the day of the concert at the hotel venue, which was a treat in itself. I had heard, memorized and sung all of Jim's material for years, but never with him until that day. What a mindblower! Can you imagine sitting behind your drumset, six feet away from Jim Pepper, your friend, chanting Witchi Tai To, Ya Na Ho, Squaw Song, Lakota Song, and others you've heard for 15 years or more? It was mind-altering, I must tell you. We put a tremendous amount together in a relatively brief (one hour or so) day-of-show rehearsal. That night, we brought the house down, with Jim's girlfriend, Caren Knight, a fine singer/lyricist working with us, too. These were among the finest, most memorable moments of my life. We played for nearly two hours, draining every ounce of expression from one another. Thankfully, my wife and youngest son (also a drummer) were in the audience and witnessed this amazing evening. Patti captured the moment with our Polaroid SLR camera, for which I'm very grateful. After the concert, Jim, Caren and I hung around the ballroom for some breakfast and late cocktails, enjoying each other's company right to the sleepy end. That was the last time I saw our dear friend Jim Pepper. I've been a one-man crusader for him ever since his untimely death in 1992 at the age of 50.

A few years ago, a Seattle filmmaker, Sandra "Sunrising" Osawa made a documentary on Jim's life, Pepper's Pow-Wow, which was featured at the Sundance Film Festival and has won several awards. I learned, after the fact, that Sandra had been looking for me to include in her film, but was unable to locate me. We've had some nice exchanges since then. I highly recommend this documentary.

Some suggested listening:

Comin' & Goin' (original Europa JP 2014) Island/Antilles 7-90680-1 recorded in May, June, August 1983 - OOP, but occasionally surfaces.

Dakota Song. Enja 5043 (CD-34) King K32Y-6225 (Japan) recorded April 1987, with Kirk Lightsey, piano; Santi Debriano, bass; John Betsch, drums.

The Path. Enja 5087 (CD-60) recorded March, 1988. Same personnel as "Dakota Song" with Stanton Davis, trumpet, Arto Tuncboyaci, percussion; Caren Knight, vocals.

The above three recordings are felt by many to be Jim Pepper's seminal work as a player/composer/leader.

More:

Land Whales in New York with Gordon Lee. TuTu 8881 Gleeful 002 recorded December, 1982 (released 8/90) with Lee, piano; Calvin Hill, bass; Bob Moses, drums.

When Elephants Dream of Music, with Bob Moses, Grammavision GR-8203 recorded April, 1982.

Ballad of the Fallen with Charlie Haden ECM 1248, recorded Nov., 1982.

The Story of Maryam with the Paul Motian Quintet. Soul Note 1074, recorded 7/83; Jack of Clubs SN1124 recorded 3/84; Misterioso SN 21164 recorded 7/86 Motian, drums; Ed Schuller, bass; Bill Frisell, guitar; Joe Lovano, tenor.

Nightwork with the Marty Cook Group. Enja 5033 recorded 1/87; Red, White, Black & Blue Enja 5067 (CD- 59) recorded 11/87. Great stuff.

Camargue with Claudine Francois. PAN Music (distributed by Harmonia Mundi) PMC 1106 rec. 5/89. Hard-to-find but worth it.

Mal, Dance, and Soul with Mal Waldron. TuTu 888- 002 (CD102) recorded 11/87, Art of the Duo TuTu 888- 006 recorded 4/88, Quadrologue at Utopia Vol. 1 TuTu CD 888118 recorded 10/89, More Git’ Go At Utopia Vol. II TUTU CD 888 148. Outstanding!

Wings and Air with Nana Simopoulos. Enja 5031 (CD-31 ).

Live At New Morning, Paris Jim Pepper & Flying Eagle - Tutu CD 888 194 - w/Jim Pepper ts & voc, Mal Waldron p, Ed Schuller b, John Betsch dr. Locations: Live At New Morning - Paris, Club Utopia - Innsbruck & Hotel Ilves / Ball Room At Tampere Jazz Happening, all in 1989. Excellent!

If I think of others I've overlooked, I'll post them.

The attached photo is the Polaroid shot my wife took during our performance in 1987.

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Pepper HQ'd here in Portand for awhile. Used to play at a long since closed club called The Jazz Quarry. His pianist for a time was none other than Mr. Smooth Jazz himself, Tom Grant. This is long before Grant went over to the dark side.

Up over and out.

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If I'm not mistaken, that's a photo of Jerome Lake on the Kenai Peninsula, just before the "Y" which leads to Seward or Kenai/Soldotna/Homer. Pretty spectacular setting, huh?

You're absolutely right!

Thank you for sharing these memories, Ron.

BTW, do you know this CD? A friend f mine who has it says it's rediculously short. But how's the music?

Edited by White Lightning

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Pepper HQ'd here in Portand for awhile.  Used to play at a long since closed club called The Jazz Quarry.  His pianist for a time was none other than Mr. Smooth Jazz himself, Tom Grant.  This is long before Grant went over to the dark side.

You're correct on both counts, Dave. Jim called Portland home for most of his life, even though he spent considerable time in Alaska, New York and Europe. Jim also frequented The Hobbit, another defunct Portland club. His mother, Flo, still lives there, in fact. Jim flew home from Europe on what was to be his last trip to Portland in 1992, where he died, sadly.

pep2.jpg

Yes, Barak, I have a copy of West End Avenue, thanks to a generous online friend. Yes, it's short, and there's nothing earth-shattering on it, but it's a solid album in my estimation. It's a 1989 recording with Christoph Spendel-piano, Ron McClure-bass, and Reuben Hoch-drums. Jim contributed one of his compositions, Three for Gemini as the opener. Each member contributed a piece, in fact. I haven't heard this album in a while, so I'm spinning it now as I type. Pep is "on", as usual.

Is that you fishing in Jerome Lake? I've thought about taking a float tube to Jerome, but never have ... yet. There are some beautiful little Golden Fin Trout in Upper and Lower Summit Lakes, which you drove past (on the left) just before reaching Jerome Lake. Did you fish the Kenai or Russian River while visiting?

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Ron, have you heard, or heard of, that private tape of Pepper & Walrath in Idaho? I heard it through a friend in Albuquerque back in 1982, and I've been kicking myself in the ass ever since for not getting a copy of it. It's truly amazing stuff. Hopefully other copies exist.

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I think I may have posted before about hearing Pepper at yet another Portland club, the Kingston, which still exists but which was only a jazz club briefly. My strongest impression was that local hero (the late husband of Nancy King and son of Saunders King) Sonny King ate him up and spit him out. But that comparison is perhaps a little unfair since they were playing bebop standards which wasn't really Pepper's thing. If they'd been playing peyote chants, presumably the tables would have turned.

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Ron, have you heard, or heard of, that private tape of Pepper & Walrath in Idaho? I heard it through a friend in Albuquerque back in 1982, and I've been kicking myself in the ass ever since for not getting a copy of it. It's truly amazing stuff. Hopefully other copies exist.

Sorry to say no to both questions, JSngry. One of these days I hope to have some of my cassette tapes mastered, but that's another story.

I would have paid double the price of admission to hear anyone "eat Pepper up and spit him out", unless Jim was "three sheets to the wind with two flapping". That's not to suggest that it didn't or couldn't happen, though I have my doubts. Of course, we could also be talking about taste, an entirely subjective thing. Jim Pepper certainly was not limited to working with Peyote chants, that's for damned sure. In fact, there was only one Peyote chant (derivative) in his songbook, as far as I know ... Witchi Tai To. Jim Pepper's tone, passion and soulful approach were/are unmistakable.

Another recording I overlooked earlier:

Jim Pepper & Eagle Wing: Remembrance / Live At Int. Jazzfestival Münster TUTU 888 152 Recorded 5/19/90 w/ Jim Pepper (ts, voc, perc); Bill Bickford (el-g); Ed Schuller (b); John Betsch (dr) Caren Knight (voc)

»One of the most lyrical concerts of Jim I've ever heard!« - Peter Wiessmueller, producer

Note:

For anyone interested in another overview of Jim Pepper, here's a link to a wonderfully written article, Jim Pepper: "The Man Who Never Sleeps" by Bill Siegel - Nashua, New Hampshire http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/siegel.html

Edited by Ron Thorne

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In an effort to support two notions brought forth on this thread; 1) I'm a one-man Jim Pepper fan club, and; 2) Jim Pepper was truly a talent deserving of wider recognition, I'm committed to posting as-necessary in a variety of ways to increase the awareness of Flying Eagle.

Here's a wonderful Enid Farber image.

0310jt-jim-pepper.jpg

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Ron, once again thanks the pics, keep them coming!

Two questions that interests me a trivia Q and a serious one:

1. Do you know why Jim Pepper pronounces Witchi Tai to as Witchi tai ta

2. What was Jim's possition regarding the supression of American-Indian culture? Did he think that this supression hurt him and his artistic success and acceptance?

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Two questions that interests me a trivia Q and a serious one:

1. Do you know why Jim Pepper pronounces Witchi Tai to as Witchi tai ta

2. What was Jim's possition regarding the supression of American-Indian culture? Did he think that this supression hurt him and his artistic success and acceptance?

1. I never heard Jim pronounce the song title any way other than WITCH-ee-TIE-TO. I probably heard him sing that song a hundred times or more in-person, and sang it with him in our 1987 performance. At one part of the song/chant, he sings WITCH-ee-TIE-TIE as a rhyming device, though.

That song has been performed by an amazing cast of characters, including Brewer & Shipley as well as Jan Garbarek and Oregon.

Here are the lyrics:

Jim opened with a reference to peyote and varying chants, which led to these essential words.

WITCHI-TIE-TO, GIMEE RAH

WHOA RAH NEEKO, WHOA RAH NEEKO

HEY NEY, HEY NEY, NO WAY

WITCHI-TIE-TO, GIMEE RAH

WHOA RAH NEEKO, WHOA RAH NEEKO

HEY NEY, HEY NEY, NO WAY

WATER SPIRIT FEELIN'

SPRINGIN' ROUND MY HEAD

MAKES ME FEEL GLAD

THAT I'M NOT DEAD

WITCHI-TIE-TIE, GIMEE RAH

WHOA RAH NEEKO, WHOA RAH NEEKO

HEY NEY, HEY NEY, NO WAY

WITCHI-TIE-TIE, GIMEE RAH

WHOA RAH NEEKO, WHOA RAH NEEKO

HEY NEY, HEY NEY, NO WAY

Jim also invoked the names of many Indian tribes near the end of the song, along with some other Indian words such as GIG-a-ho, home-BOAK-shay and ma-HOOCH-ee.

Speaking of trivia:

How many here knew that Jim played tenor on the mid-60's hit Spooky by the Classics IV?

2. Jim was very passionate and outspoken about many Native American issues. He performed and conducted workshops all over the country in support of Native American artists. His mother, Flo, established a foundation in his name which offers music scholarships. Jim's good friends Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, also connected via Native American heritage (Choctaw), were instrumental in getting Pep to fuse his grandfather's chant and other Native American influences with jazz.

Claudine François & John Betsch remember the late Jim Pepper

claudinefrancois.jpg

“Jim had the ability to see and understand people in their souls, he did not need words to understand or to be understood. He also had the ability to disappear any time and make you wonder if you were in the same dimension ...

At the same time he was proud of his Indian heritage, and/but that was a heavy burden on him because of all the negative and destructive situations that the white man has created for these people for so many generations. For example, one night Jim was coming on stage with dirty clothes and holes in his pants, and we said: “don’t you have anything better to put on to play?”. And he answered: “I am just a fucked up indian ...”. That is what killed him in fact: because he was not used to be taking care of himself, even the most helpful and loving entourage could not make up for centuries of destructive attitudes”.

Claudine François, 2/2/2000

JBetsh.jpg

“It was not unusual to see people in tears at Jim’s concerts. The most amazing thing that happened in all our time together happened in a club outside Vienna. When Jim began singing the songs from the legendary “Comin’ and Goin’” recording. Everybody in the club knew all the words and sang along. It most heve been a watermark in Jim’s life to see the profound effect and influence of his music.

We first met in the late 1960’s at a jam session in someone’s appartment in Manhattan, and I was immediately impressed by his sound and spirit. We remet in 1980 at festivals in Austria when he was touring with Don Cherry and I was with Archie Shepp. At that time Mal Waldron and Santi DeBriano were also in Shepp’s band, and they were also to become important figures in Jim’s future. Jim and I discovered that we were neighbours in Brooklyn and then our musical destinies began to take shape. We began jamming in Prospect Park, the site of two of Jim’s greatest triumphs, and eventually worked in clubs in Brooklyn and Manhattan. When I moved to Europe, we stayed in close contact, and I was able to help Jim find work, recordings and eventually to relocate in Europe. We did work more together than anyone else, touring and recording with Marty Cook, Mal Waldron, Claudine François, and eventually Jim’s own quartets. Tempered by the trials and triumphs of life on the road, we became the best of friends. Sharing the dreams and hopes of not only music and life but also chemotherapy made us very special soul brothers.

It took me a long time to be able to listen to Jim’s recordings after his ultimely death. I’ve made it somewhat of a mission to get his recordings that are so poorly distributed into as many ears and souls as possible. His unique gift was very rare, special and important.”

John Betsch, 2000

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I recently received what was probably the last release of Jim Pepper prior to his untimely death in 1992, a trio recording. I had to order it directly from Vienna, Austria and it was a little pricey, but well worth it.

Polar Bear Stomp - Recorded live at Miles Smiles Jazz Cafe/Vienna, Austria - May 3, 1991

I used to be able to add images via the IMG feature on Organissimo, but keep getting an error message saying "Sorry, dynamic pages in the %7Boption%7D tags are not allowed". HUH?

Polar Bear Stomp is a romp! It opens with Jim's voice saying to the crowd, (feigning thanks in German) "donkey, donkey, donkey ... feeling big donkeys!", then launches into the title track. This song was written when Jim lived in Juneau, Alaska, I believe. It's a medium tempo blues-based composition with some amusing lyrics.

I hates the man who said all bears shit in the woods,

Cause I don't, Grrrrr -- I'm a polar bear, yessir am

There are considerably more lyrics, but you'll have to buy the disc. :P

This is classic Pepper, and must be heard to be believed. He even gets the audience going in a sing-a-long and growling session!

This live album is a treat for lovers of Jim Pepper on several levels. It's sparse instrumentation,consisting of Jim, bassist Wayne Darling, and drummer Bill Elgart; so each player really has some space to explore and interact. He's rarely been heard without piano or guitar supporting him, or doing so much singing and talking. Jim is really engaged with his audience, even losing his temper at one point near the end of the album, admonishing listeners to show him some respect.

Their treatment of Greensleeves is wonderul and unique, opening with solo bass, followed by drums in an uptempo setting in 6/8 time. Jim's usually superb soprano saxophone voice enters, and after a slight falter is flawless, adventurous and lyrical. Wayne Darling really punches the rhythmic feel of this piece beautifully.

Ya Na Ho is one of a handful of Pepper staples in the Native American/Jazz bag. I've always loved this song. Jim opens singing the main chant and shaking bells and Indian shaker. There are some tricky little starts, stops and rhythm shifts in this song, often lost on the listener. This is a solo piece, showcasing Jim's words and percussion.

Squaw Song is in the same category with Ya Na Ho, but opens with Jim's chant, and Bill and Wayne accompanying. This is such a beautiful, haunting melody ... always one of my favorites. Jim's tenor has a very soft, tender quality, almost soprano-like. What control he had over his horns! Gorgeous.

Ticket To M.S. opens with a tasteful drum solo from Bill Elgart, which he develops for almost two full minutes before being joined by the fast-paced bass work of Wayne Darling. Jim quickly climbs aboard on tenor for a long musical journey of 14:24. Bill Elgart shifts the rythmic feel about five minutes in to a psuedo-Latin flavor, before giving way to a stirring solo from bassist Darling. Elgart solos again before Pepper re-enters to take it out with a remarkably restrained ending. Strong performances all the way around.

Lakota Song another (Dakota) Indian-inspired Pepper original to which he provides some opening remarks, including the meaning of the piece. Though traditionally sung by a woman (usually Caren, his wife), Jim handled it fine. Some bowed bass from Wayne Darling provides a great backdrop for Jim's tenor and lyrics early on. For the most part, Bill Elgart keeps the drum parts sparse, simple and very Native American-like. Both Elgart and Darling get some solo space about midway through. The ending is simply gorgeous. Another beauty.

Witchi-Tai-To was Jim's signature song, and here it gets yet another treatment. After Jim begins his customary chant with shakers/bells, I heard laughter in the audience at :39 secs, but Jim continues, getting into the main lyrics, when at 2:00 I heard yet more chuckling. At 2:45. Jim abruptly stops the piece stating "I can't sing If y'all are gonna be laughin' and shit. It fucks up my head. Just wanna let you know how I feel, cause I'm a person too, ya dig?". Though he tried hard to re-compose himself, this was definitely not one of Jim's best efforts with this treasured piece. Wayne and Bill tried their best to bring things around for Jim, though he was clearly bothered by these interruptions. Jim never suffered fools or rudeness well. Neither do I.

I'm delighted that I was alerted to this recording via a fellow poster and pursued it. I'll treasure this album along with the many other Jim Pepper recordings which hold an extraordinarily special place in our collection. Among our Jim Pepper recordings, this is one of the most unique and endearing. Unlike those CDs, however, memories of times spent with Jim are irreplaceable.

Big love, Flying Eagle.

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Bump....

Pepper's Pow Wow was released this week on CD, on Wounded Bird Records, for anyone interested. First ever CD release apparently.

I don't know how to link these so that the O board gets credit, but here are the Amazon & CD Universe links:

Amazon link ($13.99)

CD Universe Link ($11.18)

7463712.jpg

Write up at Dusty Groove:

A strangely beautiful little record -- the standout career effort from tenorist Jim Pepper -- a Native American player who draws heavily here on his heritage! Although Pepper plays sax on most numbers, he also sings a fair bit too -- in kind of a raspy style that alternates from slightly soulful to somewhat chanting -- all in a uniquely haunting way that's unlike anything else we can think of! There's a definite jazz core to the record -- guitar from Larry Coryell, piano from Tom Grant, and drums from Billy Cobham and Spider Rice -- but the sound is often far from standard, given the vocals and Native American influences. Titles include the sublime "Witchitai-To" -- Pepper's lasting legacy in music -- plus "Newlyweds Song", "Nommie Nommie", "Senecas", "Yon A Ho", "Slow War Dance", and "Drums".

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Let me add a big :tup for "Polar Bear Stomp" - I got it from brownie and fell in love with it and Pepper's playing right away. I've collected a couple of live recordings (from dime, nothing too exclusive) and love them all! Would be cool to hear the one that Jim mentioned above...

edit: here's a jpg of the cover Ron wasn't able to post above:

jpepper2006_polarbearstomp.jpg

Edited by king ubu

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I haven't heard that much Jim Pepper, but the recently released Afro-Indian Blues, a collaboration with Amina Claudine Myers, is a dynamite live recording from the early 1990s.

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I perused this thread today, then went out for lunch with my wife. We parked in the lot of a secondhand music store that caters mostly to classical customers and went in there for a few minutes after we ate; very few used jazz CDs, but one of them was a $5 copy of THE PATH. Serendipity! Also found a $3 copy of Harold Mabern's STRAIGHT STREET.

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Shall never forget a funny story I heard about Jim Pepper:

At a club (in Portland I think) someone came up to him and asked, "Hey Jim, how's your Indian thing going?"

He responded: "Fine, man. How's your white thing going?"

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Just saw 'Afro-Indian Blues' at Half Price the other day. Is this any good? The only other Pepper I have is on a TuTu cd 'Munster Festival' with Mangelsdorff, Schofield et al. Don't see his stuff around that often on the shelves.

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