While the passing of forty years has dimmed recollection of the exact dates and circumstances, it's likely the Free Spirits formed around spring of 1966 in New York, where most of the band was living in a dilapidated building on the Lower East Side. Guitarist Larry Coryell had just moved to the city from Seattle to try and make it in the jazz scene, while drummer Bob Moses, tenor saxophonist Jim Pepper, and bassist Chris Hills all came from jazz backgrounds. Only rhythm guitarist Columbus "Chip" Baker, who'd played in folk coffeehouses, was coming from outside the jazz world, though Coryell had also played some rock and R&B back in the Northwest. But it was a time when rock and pop were becoming overwhelmingly popular among America's youth, particularly with the rise of the Beatles and the British Invasion. So it was that although none of them were hardcore rockers, the Free Spirits determined to play rock music by fusing it with their own roots, much as there were no real rockers among the Byrds when they had formed and made their own fusion with folk-rock. Click here to read the rest of this wonderful article.
Keith Secola is an icon and ambassador of Native music. He is one of the most influential artists in the field today. Rising from the grassroots of North America, he is a songwriter of the people.

Seven-time Native American Music Award winner, Secola has earned NAMMYs not only for his music, but also his abilities as a producer, to include The Best Linguistic Recording for producing ANISHINABEMOIN (2007). A well respected musician, he has worked with music legends such as Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead. Secola has also teamed with academics like author Dr. Tom Venum of the Smithsonian Folklife Institute, collaborating on the CD, AMERICAN WARRIORS: SONGS FOR INDIAN VETERANS, and with elders such as Karen Drift, a speaker of Anishenabemoin. View Keith's website: click here

Swil Kanim, a classically trained violinist, native storyteller and actor, is a member of the Lummi Tribe. He was born on November 11, 1961 in Seattle, Washington and grew up in the Bellingham, Washington area.

Swil Kanim's desire to be of greater service to communities needed the support of a team. In the summer of 2009, a nonprofit corporation was set up, initially named The Swil Kanim Foundation. Over the next few months, a strong board of directors was appointed, and work began on identifying funding sources. In December 2011, the organization's name was changed to HONORWORKS in order to more closely reflect the purpose and goals of the organization. View Swil's website,

No one has a longer history of musical collaboration and friendship with Jim Pepper than Glen Moore. They performed as teenagers with the Young Oregonians. Glen Moore went on to co-found the band Oregon, which continues to keep Jim's music alive worldwide.

World-renowned jazz singer Nancy King's connection to Jim Pepper began in the 1960s. As King/Moore, Nancy King and Glen Moore have recorded three albums together and performed in Europe and North America.

Photo credits: John Rudoff
We are honored and very happy to announce a partnership with American Indian Movement (AIM) Portland Oregon Chapter. AIM Portland volunteers will provide public safety and security services for the Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival, August 7 – 10. For more information about the American Indian Movement: http://www.aimovement.org/
  Jim PepperFest 2013 update: IndiVisible
The National Museum of the American Indian’s traveling exhibit IndiVisible will make its first Portland appearance at the 1st annual Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival, August 7 – 10 and then will return to Portland through October – November for an extended run at Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus, in the heart of the City’s historically segregated African American neighborhoods.

Admission to the IndiVisible exhibit at Jim PepperFest 2013 will be free to the public, open 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday – Saturday August 7 – 10, at Parkrose HS Performing Arts Center in NE Portland.

We will be requesting donations of two items of nonperishable food for the Oregon Food Bank.

Jimi Hendrix, rock legend
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” —Jimi Hendrix

The rock-and-roll innovator Jimi Hendrix often spoke proudly of his Cherokee grandmother. He was one of many African Americans who cite family traditions in claiming Native ancestry. Photo: Courtesy Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame
  From the National Museum of the American Indian:
IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas
A place of belonging. A true sense of home.
All people share this desire. For those of dual African American and Native American heritage, this powerful sense of home has been difficult to find. Because they have not fit into society’s established racial categories, they’ve been denied a true sense of belonging.

Despite this challenge, the life experiences of African-Native American peoples have become a vital part of our American identity. Faced with centuries of government policies and laws that systematically oppressed and excluded them, they came together to find creative and effective ways to fight back. They established new, blended communities that drew strength from sharing traditions and philosophies. And, for more than 500 years, with their music, dance, craft, and food, African-Native Americans developed deeply rich cultural expressions that made an indelible mark on American life.

For centuries, African American and Native people have shared cultural traditions and practices, united in common struggle and forged relationships, families and unique ways of life throughout the Americas. But at times, racist policy and prejudice divided these communities and denied their shared heritage. Notable figures in U.S. history with dual African American and Native American ancestry include Crispus Attucks, Langston Hughes and Jimi Hendrix. By focusing on the dynamics of race, community, culture and creativity, “IndiVisible” examines an important and often overlooked aspect of American history.

Since its premiere on the National Mall in 2009, the exhibition has traveled to museums and cultural centers across the country, including the Chieftains Museum in Rome, Ga.; the Standing Bear Museum in Ponca City, Okla.; New Mexico State University Museum in Las Cruces, N.M.; the California African American Museum in Los Angeles; and the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Ala.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian opens a 20-panel banner exhibition, “IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas,” focusing on the seldom-viewed history and complex lives of people of dual African American and Native American ancestry. Through the themes of policy, community, creative resistance and lifestyles, the exhibition includes stories of cultural integration and the struggle to define and preserve identity.

The exhibition addresses the racially motivated laws that have been forced upon Native, African American and mixed-heritage peoples since the time of Christopher Columbus. Since precolonial times, Native and African American peoples have built strong communities through intermarriage, unified efforts to preserve their land and by taking part in creative resistance. These communities developed constructive survival strategies over time, and several have regained economic sustainability through gaming in the 1980s. The daily cultural practices that define the African-Native American experience through food, language, writing, music, dance and the visual arts, will also be highlighted in the exhibition.

A 10-minute media piece is featured with interviews obtained during research and work on the exhibition with tribal communities across North America. Site work was conducted in Mashpee, Mass. with the Mashpee Wampanoag community, in Los Angeles with the Creek and Garifuna communities, with the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, Okla., and at the Tutelo Homecoming Festival in Ithaca, N.Y., which welcomed the Cayuga, Tutelo and Saponi Indian Nations.

“The topic of African-Native Americans is one that touches a great number of individuals through family histories, tribal histories and personal identities,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the museum. “We find commonalities in our shared past of genocide and in the alienation from our ancestral homelands, and it acknowledges the strength and resilience we recognize in one another today.”

“The National Museum of African American History and Culture is proud to have contributed to this important and thoughtful exhibition,” said museum director Lonnie Bunch. “African American oral tradition is full of stories about ‘Black Indians,’ with many black families claiming Indian blood. However, there have been few scholarly treatments of this subject which, in the end, expresses the basic human desire of belonging.”

The exhibition was curated by leading scholars, educators and community leaders, including Gabrielle Tayac (Piscataway), Robert Keith Collins (African-Choctaw descent), Angela Gonzales (Hopi), Judy Kertèsz, Penny Gamble-Williams (Chappaquiddick Wampanoag) and Thunder Williams (Afro-Carib).

The accompanying exhibition book, “IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas,” edited by Gabrielle Tayac, features 27 essays from authors across the hemisphere sharing firstperson accounts of struggle, adaptation and survival and examines such diverse subjects as contemporary art, the Cherokee Freedmen issue and the evolution of jazz and blues. The richly illustrated 256-page book is available in Smithsonian museum stores and through the Bookshop section of the museum’s Web site at www.AmericanIndian.si.edu/bookshop

The exhibition is produced in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES)

Volunteer: https://sites.google.com/site/jimpepperfest2013/

Sponsor Jim PepperFest 2013 and help us make history:

Contact: Sean Aaron Cruz: music@jimpepperfest.net

Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JimPepperNativeArtsFestival
The Magic of Jim Pepper’s Witchi Tai To
Jim PepperFest update: July 14, 2013
  “The band Oregon recorded the song ‘Witchi Tai To’ nearly 40 years ago and it has become a mainstay with the band’s live shows while also serving as an anthem for the prolific group. The song holds a special significance to each member of Oregon as you will hear in this very special Jazz Online original podcast. Listen to the members of the band Oregon – Glen Moore, Paul McCandless, Mark Walker, Ralph Towner – as they discuss the magic of ‘Witchi – Tai To’.” – Jazz Online, The Voice of Jazz http://jazzonline.com/podcasts/2137.html
The band Oregon: (Photo: Oregon Music News)
Oregon bassist Glen Moore and Jim Pepper began playing music together when they were teenagers. (Photo: Prague Post)
Master drummer Ra-Kalam Bob Moses to hold master class
Update: July 11, 2013
Among the four members of the legendary, pioneering jazz-fusion band The Free Spirits coming to Portland in August to celebrate their friend and bandmate Jim Pepper is world-renowned master drummer and educator Rakalam Bob Moses.

“Drummer, composer, artist, poet, dancer, visionary, nature mystic (Rakalam) Bob Moses's life has been a continuous quest for vision, spirit, compassion, growth, and mastery in a multiplicity of art forms.”—New England Conservatory

Bob will arrive in Portland in time to conduct a master class in doing what he does (time and place and other details TBA) before taking the stage Friday and Saturday evenings August 9 & 10 for the historic reunion concert of The Free Spirits. And then he’s off to tour Australia and New Zealand.

This will give you a sense of what you don’t want to miss: