From his American Indian grandfather, tenor saxophonist Jim Pepper (pictured) learned “Witchi-Tai-To,” a peyote healing chant of the Native American Church. It became a part of the repertoires of several bands including Oregon, the group that brought guitarist Ralph Towner to wide attention in the 1970s. The Scandinavian musicians Jan Garbarek and Bobo Stenson and the duo of Brewer and Shipley also made enduring recordings of the Indian chant that Pepper transformed into a song that spent weeks on jazz and pop charts.
Towner and bassist Gary Peacock played a duo version of “Witchi-Tai-To” at a jazz festival in Germany in 1997.
After years of unavailability, the 1971 album that introduced Jim Pepper’s “Wichi-Tai-To” has been reissued.