is an all-new original theatre story honoring Oregon’s own expressive and innovative saxophonist who brought together Native American chants and tales from his family into jazz music. A multimedia melding of stories, music and personal anecdotes that coalesce into an enlightening tribute and presented by Triangle Theatre.

photo © Ron Schwerin

photo © Ron Schwerin

The Jim Pepper Project is an original theatre story honoring the innovative Native American saxophonist. The multimedia melding of stories, music and personal anecdotes coalesce into an enlightening tribute presented by Triangle Theatre. History and music frame the story of Pepper and his remarkable musical contributions which include his 1969 Top 100 hit: Witchi Tai To.

Jim Pepper, the son of a Creek Indian mother and Kaw father, grew up surrounded by the songs and dances of the powwow they went to. He learned peyote chants and other songs from his father, Gilbert Pepper, and grandfather, Ralph Pepper. His family moved from Oklahoma to Salem, where he was born. He spent many summers back in Oklahoma with his grandfather’s family.

Pepper and his band The Free Spirits (1965 – 1968) with guitarist Larry Coryell, drummer Bob Moses created an early combination of jazz, rock and Native American sounds. He played music with Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Ralph Towner and many others. He died in 1992 of lymphoma.

The Jim Pepper Project was written by Donald Horn and is told through the eyes of an Elder (Ed Edmo). Three actors play multiple roles with special appearances by dancers performing traditional dances, ancestral chants, jazz, stomp/tap dancing and more. Horn spent several years researching this piece working with Pepper’s family and friends to bring this to the stage.

 

The show is presented at The Sanctuary, Sandy Plaza, 1785 NE Sandy Blvd. Thursdays through Sundays, May 8 – 31. All seats are reserved. Ticket prices are $15 – $35. 503.239.5919 or www.tripro.org .