FEBRUARY 10, 1992


Born to Creek and Kaw parents in Salem, Oregon on June 18, 1941, James Gilbert Pepper moved to New York City in 1964 and joined an early fusion group with, among others, guitarist Larry Coryell.  Pepper liked the tonal attack of eastern jazz.  In 1967, he formed “Everything Is Everything.”  Inspired by alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman to use music from his roots, the album Everything Is Everything included Witchi Tai To, a Native American Church peyote chant Pepper arranged.  It was number 69 on Billboard’s Hot 100 for 1969.  It was immediately covered by Brewer & Shipley, and by numerous artists since.  The song’s success led Pepper to split his career between jazz and American Indian songs.  The latter made him a celebrity in Europe where most of his recordings were produced.  Pepper memorial concerts have been staged in the U.S.  and Europe, with one arranged and conducted by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and jazz scholar Gunther Schuller.

Sources:  Jack Berry, “Jim Pepper (1941-1992), The Oregon encyclopedia, updated 3/17/2018. Retrieved 6/7/2019, https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/jim_pepper_1941_1992_/#.WsYbNkxFzcsJohn-Carlos Perea, “Jim Pepper: American Musician,” Encyclopedia Brittanica.  Retrieved 6/7/2019, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jim-Pepper
Photo:  Gert Chesi(1940--  ), 4/1/1983.  Permissive use under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

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