Jim Pepper
Pepper's Pow Wow
Embryo 1971

Music - 4 stars

Jim Pepper - front cover

front cover

Jim Pepper - gate fold

gate fold open

Jim Pepper - rear cover

rear cover


Jim Pepper was a full blooded American Indian tenor saxophone player who wrote and recorded one of the most memorable songs of the seventies. Witchitai-to, which opens the album, begins with a chant and changes into an expansive folk-jazz, eight minute long, fusion piece that once heard will be with you forever.
Backed by fusion masters Larry Coryell, Tom Grant, Chuck Rainey and Billy Cobham the song has fine vocals by Pepper and a blistering tenor sax solo. It became a "turntable hit" on free form FM radio stations in the early seventies.

The rest of the album is a collection of Native American chants and dances as well as fine renditions of the Peter LaFarge songs "Senecas" and "Drums" that showcase Pepper's powerful country voice. It is also very interesting to hear Larry Coryell do some real country guitar picking.

Jim Pepper went on to play with Don Cherry in the New York jazz scene as well as record jazz albums aa a leader. His soul full tenor sound, he said, was influenced by Gene Ammons.

Finding this original vinyl may be difficult however, Jim Pepper's music, including Witchitai-to has been released on CD in compilations.