Thursday, December 20, 2007
I will be Gene the Jazz Machine’s guest, playing some rare Pepper sides, and discussing the forthcoming 1st annual Jim Pepper Festival of the Arts, to be held in Portland.
Connect to KBOO for live streaming audio here: http://www.kboo.fm/listen
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
National Museum of the American Indian
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
by Sean Cruz, on behalf of the family of Jim Pepper
April 7, 2007
“You must not forget me when I’m long gone, for I loved you so dearly,” Jim Pepper sang (in his song ‘Remembrance’), and we are gathered here today to proclaim that this unique and remarkable man will indeed never be forgotten.
On behalf of the family of Jim Pepper, Hung-a-che-eda, the Flying Eagle, I am honored and privileged to speak today, and I hope that my words are worthy of the occasion, that they carry honor and respect to all.
Jim Pepper was born in 1941, and he passed from this life in 1992, leaving a legacy of art and personality that bridged cultures and continents.
The gifts with which the Pepper family honors the National Museum of the American Indian today, including the silver saxophone through which Jim spoke his heart, always honoring his Indian heritage, forging new directions in music, preparing the way for future generations of musicians, are emblems of that legacy.
In order to understand the legacy of Jim Pepper, one must first appreciate that Jim’s music originated in the traditions, the language and the culture of Native People, in his absorption of the teachings of his grandfather Ralph Pepper, and of his father Gilbert Pepper and his mother Floy Pepper.
Their influences are at the core of this glorious, transcendental music.
Those teachings inspired Jim throughout his entire life, and we are all the beneficiaries of those lessons.
As a dancer, a singer, a composer, a bandleader, an innovator and as a saxophone player, Jim took those traditional songs, chants, rhythms, sounds—never losing contact with their Native origins, never failing to give honor to his People—and created a new vocabulary of sound and meaning, incorporating American jazz, African and Caribbean rhythms, melody and what he liked to call “sweet har-mo-ny” into a body of work that has yet to be fully appreciated.
The music often categorized as “world music” was to Jim Pepper, simply, “music for the People.”
In 1999, in her acceptance speech on the occasion of her son’s First Americans in the Arts award, Floy Pepper spoke these words:
“Jim Pepper was a member of the Kaw Indian Nation, known as the Wind People, from his father. From me, his mother, he was a member of the Creek Indian Nation, known as the People of the Waters.
“It is no wonder his music was so strong and powerful—with the wind to carry his music to the four directions of the earth—and as long as the grass shall grow and the waters flow—which is forever—may his spirit remain alive for time immemorial.”
Assembled here today, from the East, the West, the North and the South, the musicians and singers of the Jim Pepper Remembrance Band and Yellowhammer have come to pay tribute to their musical and spiritual brother, and the tears they shed this afternoon—like the tears that flowed during yesterday’s rehearsal—mark the depth and the breadth of the love they share for this wonderful soul, the man who Muskogee Creek poet Joy Harjo called “The Musician Who Became a Bear”, in her song dedicated to Pepper that is already in the Smithsonian collection.
We do more than remember Jim today; we celebrate him.
In the month that Jim passed, that February of 1992, Caren Knight-Pepper composed a song-poem titled simply, “Jim.”
That poem begins:
Our son Jim
All of ours Jim…”
And the poem concludes:
Polar Bear Jim
Gourd rattle Jim
Water spirit Jim
Comin’ and Goin’ Jim
Jim Pepper, son of the Creek and Kaw Nations, son of Oregon and the United States, son of Gilbert and Floy Pepper, has become a son for the ages.
The family of Jim Pepper donated to the Museum:
 Jim’s silver-plated Selmer balanced-action saxophone, vintage late 1950s
 Beaded ball cap worn by Jim Pepper in concert, with feather, “Jim” embroidered
 Turtle-shell rattle used in concert and the recording studio
 Original hand-written scores and sheet music, including “Witchi-Tai-To”
 Original LPs, including Jim Pepper’s 1971 “Pepper’s Powwow”
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Sunday, March 11, 2007
The Jim Pepper Remembrance Band returns to the Blue Monk on SE Belmont in Portland for two nights only, Friday and Saturday, March 16 & 17.
Tickets are $ 12 general admission or $ 6 with student ID
Next Remembrance Band performances:
April 7, 2007
National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
(On the occasion of the dedication of Jim Pepper's saxophone to the NMAI collection.)