Johnny Peppers, Jazz Musician


by Cliff Lamere    18 Oct 2010, revised 19 Dec 2011


Johnathan "Johnny" Peppers, of Water Gap, New Jersey plays bass sax, soprano sax, 

and contrabass sax.  He is also known as Johnny Pep and Johnny Peppercraft.

(All photos contributed by Johnny Peppers.)



Taken at Governors Island (part of Manhattan) in New York City, NY.

Johnny was playing at a Governors Island Jazz-Age Lawn Party  (Aug 2010) 


"I am self taught, but had a great inspiration, attempting to learn to play after hearing Coleman Hawkins play the bass-sax on Fletcher Henderson Recordings from 1923, 1924 and 1926.  When I first heard the sonorous sound of the bass-sax, I knew I needed to find one and to then to see if I could master it.  After that I found out that there were other tremendous bass saxophonists from that period, too, like Adrian Rollini, Spencer Clarke, Min Leibrook, Millard Robbins, Jimmy Johnston from the 20's & then later Joe Rushton from the 40s & Jimmy Campbell from Carl Halens Gin Bottle 7 in the 50's. These musicians were true pioneers on the bass-sax and only their music survives if you can find it. "  (9-13-2009)


In his spare time, Johnny plays with snakes.  I'm just kidding, but next is a photo of him with a timber rattlesnake.  

"I found this rattler about a block from my house.  The poison packs enough punch to scare anyone with sense enough to know the grave is not far beyond the bite.  John Louis at the Buckwood Bistro is going to prepare the rattler for a Fine French Cuisine.  Only I was wondering what type of wine goes with Timber Rattler?"



Johnny with a timber rattler.  (Close-up extracted from photo contributed by Johnny 7-15-2010)


"TIMBER RATTLESNAKE- ( crotalus h. horidus )
The timber rattlesnake is one of New Jersey's most endangered species.  They are very shy and hard to see, find, and monitor.  They prefer rocky, mountainous areas and the uplands near them in the northern part of the state.  When found in the southern half, they occur near cedar swamps and nearby areas.  The females can only have babies when they are about 9 years old and only have babies once or twice in their entire lifetime.
   The Timber Rattlesnake is a top predator in eastern North America but is found nowhere else in the world.  Along with bats, it is a misunderstood species. People often believe they are a serious threat to people, pets and livestock.  Across the U.S. they are still harassed and killed out of fear and ignorance, and by commercial hunters, who sell body parts for leather, meat and trinkets."  (quote provided by Johnny from website called Reptiles)



While vacationing in Mexico in February 2011, Johnny Peppers sent me this photo.  

His version of the story is that he went to the market to buy some hot peppers.  Upon returning

home, he dumped them out onto a table.  They had barely come to rest when he took this photo.

Quite remarkable, don't you think?



Johnny Peppers plays with several groups including Drew Nugent's Midnight Society


Mike Kuehn, Johnny Peppers (on bass sax), Paul Salter, unknown, Jay Rattman, Drew Nugent (L-R)





Ben Mauger's Vintage Jazz Men at the Bookstore Speakeasy in Bethlehem, PA.  17 Dec 2011.

Johnny Peppers, Ben Mauger, Bob Kreitz and Mike Kuehn (aka Washboard Sam) (L-R)




To contact Johnny Peppers:




Phone:  908 489 0438


"I play with: Dr. Dubious and the Agnostics, Chuck Slate, Steven Dibonaventura, Mike Kuehn, Dave Greer's Classic Jazz Stompers (from Ohio), Drew Nugent & the Midnight Society, and Skip Parsons' Riverboat Jazz Band."



Many photos of Johnny Peppers can be seen on this website:


    Johnny Peppers on bass sax (part 1)

    Johnny Peppers on bass sax (part 2)

    Johnny Peppers on soprano sax

    Johnny Peppers on contrabass sax (part 1)

    Johnny Peppers on contrabass sax (part 2)

    Johnny Peppers, Jazz Musician

    Johnny Peppers with Clarinet Marmalade

    Skip Parsons' Riverboat Jazz Band 5


Johnny Peppers in photos on other websites.