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RifftideThe Life and Opinions of Papa Jo Jones$
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Papa Jo Jones

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816673001

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816673001.001.0001

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I Have Had a Varied Life

I Have Had a Varied Life

(p.27) I Have Had a Varied Life

Papa Jo Jones

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter opens with renowned jazz musician Papa Jo Jones’s assertion of his legacy as immortalized by jazz historian Albert Murray. In the grand American tradition of the exaggerated vernacular, Jones smoothly details the varied adventures of his life, while at the same time he admonishes his listener that nothing in his life is sensational enough for a book. Jones describes the people who’ve made an impression on him, in particular maintaining that “Everybody understands how I play: I play free.” That statement encapsulates his convictions on life and religion—by addressing his fear of God but of little else; and in general it captures his boisterous, gung-ho attitude on life with “fifty-six years in show business.” Does that cover everything? He’s covered a “whole lot of shit,” indeed, because he has, in his own words, had “a varied life.”

Keywords:   Papa Jo Jones, legacy, Albert Murray, jazz, I play free, show business, varied life, vernacular

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