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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



Afro Indian Blues

Pao PAO 10330



1. The Blues
2. Comin’ and Goin’
3. Witchi Tai To
4. African Blues
Jim Pepper – Tenor sax and vocals
Amina Claudine Myers – Piano and vocals
Anthony Cox – Bass
Leopoldo Fleming – Percussion

It was a good night at the Raab Jazz Festival in Austria on 19 May, 1991, when tenorist/singer Jim Pepper got together with pianist/singer Amina Claudine Myers for a session of uninhibited jazz and blues. Don Cherry was supposed to appear with Pepper but he was nowhere to be found, so Amina happily stepped in and the result was aural magic.

Pepper and Myers are in many ways well suited: both having experience not only in jazz but in other realms, including involvement with avant-garde groups like Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra. Amina’s grounding in gospel and blues is evident in her heartfelt vocals on the opening track, which turns out to be Billie Holiday’s classic Fine and Mellow. Jim and Amina’s intensity is heard in their powerful solos on the bluesy Comin’ and Goin’.

Witchi Tai To is Jim Pepper’s best-known composition, reflecting his Native-§American roots. Jim sings it with conviction, sympathetically backed by Amina’s piano and vocals. The final African Blues continues the World Music input, with Amina chanting with heartfelt vigour, Jim abetting with forceful tenor sax, and Leopoldo Fleming adding a punchy solo on conga drums. The excellent recording captures the full excitement of this live set, recorded the year before Jim Pepper’s premature death at the age of 50. This album lasts for only about 50 minutes but it is highly recommendable.

Tony Augarde


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