Taken as a whole, The Jim Pepper Project is more like a tribute concert with commentary than a full-fledged play. Pepper appreciators won’t learn anything they didn’t already know…but they’ll surely welcome the chance to revisit his music and honor his spirit with the help of a sparkling cast of actor/musicians. M. Cochise Anderson practically shoots sunbeams in the role of Pepper. He also plays the Native American wooden flute and the saxophone and sings. Salim Sanchez as Sundiata is a second Mister Charisma, making his dynamic entrance dancing up the aisle to take his place on percussion. Karen Kitchen as Sun Carrier is quietly dignified, singing a lovely Native-language translation of “Amazing Grace.” While not “Fosse,” the show certainly doesn’t lack for flair.
— Oregon Artswatch
Tune in for special membership edition featuring music of Native American jazz legend Jim Pepper in new original show at Triangle Productions. Dmae Roberts talks with playwright/director Don Horn about the legacy of Jim Pepper. Horn is staging a music and storytelling tribute to this famed musician and features Chochise Anderson as Pepper, Edmo as his grandfather and performers Karen Kitchen and Salim Sanchez.
Is this more of a musical than a straightforward narrative play?
It’s more of a play with music. My belief is that Jim’s a storyteller. It’s a show told through the eyes of Jim, and then pretty soon you get to meet the other two actors—one is a Native American that represents the tribes, and then there’s an African American who’s also mixed-blood Cherokee. Through the show, you start to see the similarities of these two. And Jim goes, “What I learned is what I did: I fused the two worlds together and did these songs.
— Willamette Week, Hotseat: Don Horn
Native America, Injun, Indian, Redskin … whatever your nonpolitically correct version, The Jim Pepper Project will teach you what your history books didn’t. Including respectful names for the original indigenous inhabitants of North America. How about First Americans? Both educational and entertaining, Triangle Productions! breathes life into the story of this native Oregonian.
— The Rearguard
Starring local actor and storyteller Ed Edmo, this original play celebrates the work of Jim Pepper, an Oregon-born Native American jazz saxophonist, composer, singer, and writer of the only song on the Billboard pop charts to feature a Native American chant.
— Portland Monthly
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 Southeast Examiner
This new work will be a multi-media experience that fuses stories, music and personal anecdotes into an entertaining and enlightening evening. It focuses on Native American and African American history and music, as well as the true story of Jim Pepper and his unique contributions to jazz music. This year marks the 175th anniversary of the final group of Cherokees ended the journey across the Trail of Tears. The detachment arrived on March 24, 1839, in Indian Territory near present-day Tahlequah, Oklahoma. This show joins in the celebration bringing the history of this time along with Jim’s story to the stage.
— WhoFish