Friday, May 10, 2013

Jim Pepper


NYSTAN said...

Jim was a good pal of mine back in 1969. He was a sweetheart of a guy and was sick for pretty much his entire, too short life. Hard core. But we had some good times up north of Toronto. Met a couple of waitresses in a jazz club and invited them to come fishing with us from Sunday afternoon until the following Weds when he took up residency for another long weekend with the Larry Coryell quartet....MIke Mandel on B-3, Steve Haas on drums, Larry on guitar and Jim on tenor. Originally, it had been a quintet with the incredible Albert Stinson on Fender bass, but Albert, also quite ill, succumbed to an overdose a few months earlier. After that, Mike doubled up on bass pedals. Jim and I also hung out with Steve back in NYC. In those days, there were lots of storefronts that were occupied by artists, craftsmen and musicians. Steve had a nice one in an area now known as NOLITA. We used to meet up there on Saturdays-Jim, his lovely wife, Steve and his painter wife and a whole bunch of walk ins and the music would just start up and never end. I had never played music except a little bit of clarinet in high school until I got tossed out of the band for being a wise ass. I was attracted to the bass, but had never played one or even touched one. On this particular Saturday, we all got really high. The guys started playing some modal stuff and Steve yelled to me, "Hey, Stan, pick up the bass....we need a bass". I was sort of shocked. Somehow, I picked it up and luckily, they were playing in D modal, so I found a few open notes to hit in time and it sounded ok....I mean, it didn't sound terrible. A few years later, thanks to that afternoon, I was playing bass in a band that had a record deal and got to perform for a few years. SO that was a big moment in my life, with Jem and Steve and a few guys I no longer recall. I still think back on those days and miss Jim and his easy humor and long tales about his Cree roots, meant to scare and chuckle, like the one about the tree full of black snakes that got hit by lightning-the snakes flying all over the river while he was fishing with his uncle. That one always had us rolling on the floor in hysterics with a little bit of fright mixed in. I still sing Witchi Tai Toe in the shower once in a while.

Blue Heron said...

Awesome. Great knowledge, Stan, as always. You have lived a remarkable life. I must confess to have been led to the song from Brewer and Shipley's version, which is good in its own right but certainly not this rich and heavy. My friend Chuck had B&S play last year at his 65th birthday party. Flew them out from Ohio or some such place.

I believe that the first part of the song is a standard peyote chant. Which reminds me I have to post a picture. Peace. Jim had it going on.

NYSTAN said... reminded me. Jim arrived one day with a duffel bag full of buttons that were taken from sacred land back in OK. It created a big problem for Jim for a while. The elders were really pissed. It was the only time I ever took the real thing. I called it my William Burroughs moment.

grumpy said...

i loved Coryell back then, especially the Live at the Village Gate album, recorded in early '71; Jimi had passed just a few months early, and his influence is all over Larry's playing here; Mervin Bronson electric bass and Harry Wilkerson drums rounded out the trio; with supporting vocal by wife Julie C. on the final track (yes, Larry sang also; or tried to); fantastic album.