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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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“Straight Life”: The Jazz Journey of Art Pepper

“Straight Life”: The Jazz Journey of Art Pepper

Chapter:
(p.149) 6 “Straight Life”: The Jazz Journey of Art Pepper
Source:
Outside and Inside
Author(s):

Reva Marin

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496829979.003.0006

This chapter examines the haunting autobiography of Art Pepper, one of the leading jazz saxophonists of the postwar period, reading it against recent work on Los Angeles’ Central Avenue and West Coast jazz, more generally. Pepper’s account of his experiences with Black music and culture reprises some of the central themes of this study, including a white jazzman’s early recognition of the Black roots of jazz, his desire to belong to that world, and the euphoria and limitations of jazz interracialism. As the only autobiography in this book coauthored by a woman, Straight Life opens pathways for considering women’s resistance to the misogyny and rigid gendering that has dominated jazz culture. Laurie Pepper’s account of her central role during her husband’s final decade illuminates the authority and influence of a jazzwoman in a study of texts in which women’s voices are generally on the periphery or absent entirely.

Keywords:   Art Pepper, Laurie Pepper, jazzwoman, Central Avenue, West Coast jazz

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