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GA Russell

May 16: Laurie Pepper - Why I Stuck with a Junkie Jazzman

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Art Pepper's Widow Laurie

Tells the Rest of the Story

In the Companion Volume to

Classic Jazz Bio Straight Life,

"ART: Why I Stuck with a Junkie Jazzman,"

To Be Published May 16

May 5, 2014

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Art Pepper told his sexy, sordid, and exciting true adventure stories to his lover, Laurie, who put them in a book. She quizzed him (and those who knew him) unrelentingly over seven years, editing and structuring a narrative to which she dedicated all her energy.
Straight Life by Art and Laurie Pepper (Da Capo) was published in 1979. It was a critical success and remains a classic of its kind, the subject of college literary and music studies. Laurie went on to marry Art and manage his resurgent career, touring the world with his band. "Why I Stuck with a Junkie Jazzman" was the headline some editor gave a newspaper interview Laurie did while the band was in Australia in 1981, and she's now stolen "that perfect title" for her memoir.

ART: Why I Stuck with a Junkie Jazzman (APMCorp) describes her marriage to the deeply troubled, drug-addicted, madly gifted artist. "That marriage was the making of me," says Laurie. "Some people go to grad school or join the Marines. I married a genius who valued and inspired me and challenged me to use MY gifts. We had a difficult, powerful partnership. I had to tell that story." She says she also needs to set the record straight and clarify her role: "People think I was some kind of little wifey-saint who rescued him. And Art encouraged them in that. But he knew how truly crazy I could be. We rescued each other."

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Laurie Pepper was born in 1940 in Los Angeles to a family of radicals and artists. She grew up in New York and Los Angeles, attended U.C. Berkeley, and was photographer for the legendary L.A. Free Press during the 1960s but went astray and wound up in rehab where she met Art Pepper. Since Art's death in 1982, she has continued to produce and promote his music. Her very small label, Widow's Taste, has released a new album of previously unreleased Art Pepper performances every year since 2006.

ART will be available from Amazon in paperback on May 16 -- on Art and Laurie's wedding anniversary. It consists of 382 pages, with approximately 100 photos and a complete index. It will sell, in the U.S., for $20.00. An E-book version will be available on June 16, and a downloadable audiobook will be released on November 16 along with a CD release of some of the key Art Pepper performances Laurie describes in the memoir. *

Advance Praise for ART

Forged at the collision point of true art and real life, this brutally honest book is an engrossing journey across the hard countries of love and loss and redemption. It inspires the belief that love can overcome all obstacles and that creative talent knows no bounds. It was impossible for me to put it down.

--Michael Connelly, Author of the Harry Bosch series of novels

"I was no angel," Laurie Pepper advises at the start of this stingingly candid memoir, and in truth she is a wonderfully devilish writer, her pen a razor dipped in sulfur, her memory a lead-lined cave from which nothing escapes or goes unexamined. Everyone who knows the skillful craftsmanship she brought to Straight Life, the masterpiece she made of Art Pepper's life, will find it here again, in service to her own story, which would be reason enough to celebrate this gripping book. But there is another: a wittingly different perspective on Art's tale--this good wife was every inch his match.

--Gary Giddins, Author of Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams and Celebrating Bird

Music, love, gossip--along with mania and addiction, pain and calamity: Laurie Pepper writes with grace and candor about all of it. Joining Straight Life as one of the best jazz lives, and telling the story behind that great story, her new book deserves all the meanings of "Art" in its title.

--Robert Pinsky, Poet

Read the introduction to ART here.

Photo credits: Phil Bray (book cover), Hugh Kenny (Laurie), Herb Nolan (Laurie & Art).

1279.jpg Web Sites:

lauriepepper.net

artpepper.net

Follow Laurie: ic_twit_16.png

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mandatory purchase - another worthy effort from the "best widow in jazz" !!

Edited by soulpope

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1279.jpg

mandatory purchase - another worthy effort from the "best widow in jazz" !!

I'll be buying a copy but.......I just wish she could have found a better title for it.

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1279.jpg

mandatory purchase - another worthy effort from the "best widow in jazz" !!

I'll be buying a copy but.......I just wish she could have found a better title for it.

there was an ongoing discussion (on her site and via facebook, me believe) about the title - but it`s obviously her view on the lifetime spent with a drug addicted artist and she stayed with it....

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She's talkin' it straight - me dig that. Will have to get this and the (auto-)bio, too, finally!

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1279.jpg

mandatory purchase - another worthy effort from the "best widow in jazz" !!

I'll be buying a copy but.......I just wish she could have found a better title for it.

I think there was a similar sentiment expressed by some over her choice of "Widow's Taste" as the name of her label. I'm looking forward to reading it, "Straight Life" was one of the best jazz bios I ever read.

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I may have to read "Straight Life" one of these days. I've just never been that interested in Pepper the man. . . I'm not as intersted in his music as many here.

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I think this is mandatory viewing:

61Wc2huKMlL.jpg

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I've said before that I truly believe that, except for significant times when he lost his pseudo-post-Trane self consciousness (and that includes an amazing night when I saw him in Boston), the post-comeback Pepper was musically problematic. He still had that brilliant horizontal integrity when he wanted to use it, but spent too much time trying to fit into some imagined idea of the contemporary. As for Laurie's book, the title, to me, is amateur night.

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I've said before that I truly believe that, except for significant times when he lost his pseudo-post-Trane self consciousness (and that includes an amazing night when I saw him in Boston), the post-comeback Pepper was musically problematic. He still had that brilliant horizontal integrity when he wanted to use it, but spent too much time trying to fit into some imagined idea of the contemporary. As for Laurie's book, the title, to me, is amateur night.

I read Straight Life many years ago - maybe a bit over 20 years ago - when I had only a little bit of an idea that the next 10 or so years would end up in total degradation, disillusion, poverty and desperation due to my own drug addiction.

Since I've been clean, I've seen so many friends and acquaintances who are addicts become lost in the horrors of active drug addiction - so when I read the title, I almost threw up.

So I'm gratified that some participants here were also put off my the demeaning title.

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There's irony in the title as it comes from a newspaper article about Pepper from year's back, which infers the general insensitivity to the people and music the press was reporting on.

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The title is fine. Relax and live your own life, not others.

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I think she should have gone with Mein Kampf.

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Damn! Remind me to read these posts whenever I start feeling too good about myself. I KNEW this would happen, but not so FAST! Makes my head spin. Okay, some of you weren't so poisonous, but you know what we human beings pay attention to. You are the MEAN BOYS.

Edited by mspepper

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The title is fine. Relax and live your own life, not others.

I agree.

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The title is fine. Relax and live your own life, not others.

YES.

btw

each and every musician creating in his whole career at least one effort comparable to (selected randomly)

aadf4a291b.jpg

will always find my appreciation.

Edited by soulpope

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I think it was in 1981 when he played at the Velden Jazz Festival in southern Austria. I´m still mad I couldn´t be there. Would have been the last occasion to see him live.....

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Book looks fascinating.

I have to agree. May not be to everyones liking but life is messy that way. I will pick this up soon and hopefully get to read it by the end of the year.

Enjoyed Arts' music and still do.

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I think it was in 1981 when he played at the Velden Jazz Festival in southern Austria. I´m still mad I couldn´t be there. Would have been the last occasion to see him live.....

Great performance "down there" for sure....

Edited by soulpope

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I think it was in 1981 when he played at the Velden Jazz Festival in southern Austria. I´m still mad I couldn´t be there. Would have been the last occasion to see him live.....

Great performance "down there" for sure....

so, you saw it ! You lucky, I had other commitments and just made it to catch the last two tunes of Dexter. Too bad I didn´t see Art Pepper. I remember somebody told me that he played a rare "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz" or something like that, for the Austrian audience of course. ..

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I think it was in 1981 when he played at the Velden Jazz Festival in southern Austria. I´m still mad I couldn´t be there. Would have been the last occasion to see him live.....

Great performance "down there" for sure....

so, you saw it ! You lucky, I had other commitments and just made it to catch the last two tunes of Dexter. Too bad I didn´t see Art Pepper. I remember somebody told me that he played a rare "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz" or something like that, for the Austrian audience of course. ..

"Dein ist mein ganzes Herz" either already was (just too busy to check) or became thereafter part of his song line-up.....via the intenet you most likely can find the recording of a "Walter Richard Langer" Radio Jazz Show dedicated to this 981 Velden concert........

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Seems "Yours Is My Heart Alone" was played rather regularly at least on that 1981 tour - it's both on the Stuttgart and Croydon sets Laurie has released

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Seems "Yours Is My Heart Alone" was played rather regularly at least on that 1981 tour - it's both on the Stuttgart and Croydon sets Laurie has released

thanx for checking ubu :tup .....vaguely remembered it the same way........

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