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Jim Pepper

March 14th, 2008 · No Comments

To say that Jim Pepper was a unique voice in jazz would be an understatement. I got turned on to Jim’s music when I heard him play his signature tune that he left the jazz community, “Witchi Tai To.” This song has been covered by no fewer than fifty artists. It is from a ritual peyote chant that Jim learned in his childhood. He was part Kaw and part Creek native American.

His characteristic incisive, penetrating tone and soulful delivery was unique for its time. His sound was emulated by players like Jan Garbarek, Michael Brecker, and David Sanborn. He seemed to skip all the usual bull sh*t that most sax players go through and he went right to the heart of the matter.

Here are some videos I found:

Here is one of the first versions of “Witchi Tai To

His story:

Part 2

Here’s Jim doing a bit of Witchi-Tai-To live. Watch him think about what he’s playing. This is what I meant about cutting through all the BS and getting right to the heart of the matter.

Here is an excellent studio version of “Witchi Tai To:

http://saxlessons.com/Jim Pepper/Witchi Tai To (Excellent Studio Vers.mp3

Go here for more on Jim Pepper:


Tags: Life in B flat

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