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Outside and InsideRace and Identity in White Jazz Autobiography$
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Reva Marin

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496829979

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2021

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496829979.001.0001

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Bob Wilber, the Westchester Kid: White Privilege and Perspectives on Jazz Belonging

Bob Wilber, the Westchester Kid: White Privilege and Perspectives on Jazz Belonging

Chapter:
(p.37) 2 Bob Wilber, the Westchester Kid: White Privilege and Perspectives on Jazz Belonging
Source:
Outside and Inside
Author(s):

Reva Marin

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496829979.003.0002

In Bob Wilber’s Music Was Not Enough, the multi-instrumentalist and bandleader offers a detailed account of his experience in New York during the mid-1940s as a student and protégé of the renowned New Orleans musician Sidney Bechet and the effect of that experience on his life and career. While Wilber’s description of his jazz education with Bechet and his subsequent professional career reveals his rich immersion in New Orleans and East Coast traditional and swing jazz communities, the colorblind lens through which he filters these experiences serves to deemphasize, or even negate, the significance of race in them. This chapter contrasts Wilber’s privilege and apparent distance from New Orleans’ jazz culture with Bechet’s insistence on the significance of his Creole identity to the shaping of his musical and cultural persona.

Keywords:   Bob Wilber, Sidney Bechet, jazz education, colorblind, Creole identity

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