1 - Lakota Song 8:41
2 - Funny Glasses and a Mustache
3 - Ghana Folk Song 10:45
(Don Cherry - Arranged Jim Harvey)
4 - Witchy-Tai-Toe (Chant)
5 - Remembrance 6:46
6 - Mr. DC 12:18
(Don Cherry - Arranged Jim Pepper)
7 - Drakumba 10:55
Chuck Florence rides again
For a long time
Ive wondered about Jim Pepper, the Native American tenor player, who died in 1992 at
the age of fifty. But there isnt a lot of his music readily available. Pepper was
definitely a modernist, a free player with a big, soulful sound. He toured with Don Cherry
in Europe and Africa and he was a member of Charlie Hadens Liberation Music
Orchestra. From the little Id heard I had come to regard him as the best kind of
modern jazz musician, a player grounded in the traditions of the horn but open to new
influences and styles.
Now we have a sterling interpretation of Peppers Native
American-based writing, as interpreted by a kindred spirit on tenor, Chuck Florence.
Originating in Detroit (he worked with the Detroit Symphony, Brother Jack McDuff, and
Mitch Ryder), Chuck now lives in western Montana, until recently on the Salish-Kootenai
Reservation. Ive known Chuck for a long time and he is one of those brilliant jazz
musicians who doesnt seem to need the hectic big city life to keep his chops au
courant. I watched him on stage one time, guesting with Jack Walraths big band
and he all but blew those cats off the boards. He regularly played with the marvelous
pianist, the late Jaki Byard, at a jazz festival in Fargo.
Three years ago he fell in with Ed and George Schuller, who
had worked extensively with Pepper. Ed had transcribed arrangements of many of
Peppers compositions and he saw in Chuck Florence the ideal player to bring this
music back to the public.
The Schullers on bass and drums, Nicole Kampgen on alto and
voice, and guitarist Craig Hall (a Montanan), brilliantly support Chuck in resurrecting
Peppers splendid music. I like Peppers "Lakota Song" especially, and
his best known work, "Witchi-Tai-Toe." They also play a couple of tunes by Don
Cherry, arranged by Pepper. Cherry was one of my favorite trumpet players, an exciting
trumpeter who exuded enthusiasm and love for an amazing range of world music. All the
players here are outstanding and this is music that jazz fans will want to hear again and
again. But it is Chucks playing that thrills me. He is firey, but the fire is banked
with his characteristic humor and intelligence.
The situation for contemporary jazz musicians has changed. If
youre not with one of the two or three labels that can still be called
"major," you have distribution problems. Thanks to the Net, this situation can
be overcome. We can take orders for this cd at this site. The cost is $15, plus $2.50 for
shipping and handling.