Art Pepper (1925 - 1982) was described as the greatest alto-saxophonist of the post-Charlie Parker generation. But Straight Life is much more than a jazz book - it is oneof the most explosive, yet one of the most lyrical, of all autobiographies, narrated on tape to his wife Laurie.
Pepper refuses to tiptoe round many of the unpalatable episodes of a life that involved alcoholism, heroin addiction,armed robberies and five of what should have been his most productive years imprisoned in San Quentin. The result is an autobiography like no other, a masterpiece of the spoken word, shaped into a genuine work of literature.
* Straight Life demonstrates again and again that Pepper had the ear and memory and interpretative lyricism of a first-rate novelist... He did five years in San Quentin and his descriptions of life there are relentless and brilliant... He had no illusions nor did hehave any remorse or self-pity... He was an eloquent and gifted man. New Yorker * One of the most memorable jazz memoirs. Times * A tough, dizzying, hard and honest book that will haunt anybody who opens it. Down Beat * The most powerful, mind-riveting, brutally honest document I've ever read by an artist. Boston Ledger * A shattering portrait of genius confronted with human weakness... possibly the best memoir ever written by a jazz musician. A story that ranks with The Autobiography of Malcolm X in its direct honesty and power. Kansas City Star