Tulalips screen film about American Indian jazz great

Jim Pepper was known for pioneering the fusion jazz movement as well as being the kind of musical innovator who blended jazz with American Indian music.

Jazz aficionados are well aware of Pepper’s composition “Witchi Tai To,” today a jazz classic that was a crossover hit between jazz and the top 40 popular song list when it was first produced in the mid-’60s.

Pepper’s life is celebrated in the film documentary “Pepper’s Pow Wow,” showing at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Hibulb Cultural Center on the Tulalip Reservation, 6410 23rd Ave. NE, Tulalip.

Admission for adults is $10. For more information call Hibulb at 360-716-2600 or online at www.hibulbculturalcenter.org/.

Sandy Osawa will present the one-hour film. Osawa, a Makah, is the first American Indian filmmaker to produce on a national broadcast scale and has made 16 broadcast films.

She and her husband, cameraman and editor Yasu Osawa, will answer questions following the film.

Pepper’s heritage is Creek and Kaw and the film shows a rare, personal glimpse into the life of this jazz innovator, who made his name on the European stage rather than back home in America.

The film pays tribute to Pepper’s life along with sharing his music, including a recording of his grandfather, Ralph Pepper, singing the original chant that became the basis for “Witchi Tai To.”

Pepper played the tenor saxophone and the film opens with him performing the song “Caddo Revival” during the Kaw Pow Wow in Oklahoma, where Pepper grew up.

In the film, Pepper is recorded as saying music created by American Indians “comes directly from the ground, from the earth, from the four directions and the music is a healing force.”

Along with documenting Pepper’s life, the film delves into the birth of the jazz-rock fusion movement of the mid-1960s. The film includes footage of Pepper’s band, the first jazz-rock fusion band called The Free Spirits.

Filmmaker Osawa hopes that Pepper’s life “can be a metaphor for many indigenous people who are struggling to walk in two worlds with one spirit,” she said in a statement.

“Pepper’s Pow Wow” has been shown on the Public Broadcasting Station with funding by the Independent Television Service. Osawa’s films are available at www.upstreamvideos.com.

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424; goffredo@heraldnet.com.

More in Life

Artist Justin Hillgrove, creator of Imps and Monsters, in his studio. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Where the wild things are in Snohomish

Step into the studio of Imps and Monsters creator Justin Hillgrove for a Black Friday sale.

Meet Nellie, Thor, Raven, Lola, Jasper, Gunner and Bella

These six dogs are waiting for loving homes.

Did you know? Bats edition

Worthwhile Everett library reading and viewing about bats of the animal, sport and hero varieties.

Don’t forbid friendship with back-talking neighbor kid

Q: Our 8-year-old has suddenly developed a very sassy mouth. She picked… Continue reading

How birds stay alive in winter and what you can do to help

When the weather turns chilly, columnist Sharon Wootton’s thoughts turn to birds coping with cold.

Don’t get scammed: Think before you click on email links

An email that was supposedly from iTunes is a scam that targeted busy parents.

Sweden’s Glass Country sparkles like a hand-blown bauble

You can blame my Norwegian heritage, but I’m not so hot on… Continue reading

The pros’ snow: Lake Tahoe a big draw for skiers of all stripes

North Lake Tahoe is home to one of the largest concentrations of ski resorts in North America.

Teen idol David Cassidy remains in Florida hospital

The former pop star is dealing with multiple organ failure.

Most Read