JazzTimes

AfterLife

Early in his memoir, Straight Life, the late jazz legend Art Pepper relates a story about being in the U.S. Army during World War II, stationed in London. Once, on a day when he had some free time, he met a young woman on the street near Piccadilly Circus. They spent the day drinking Old Kuchenheimer beer and wandering the city, occasionally canoodling, kissing, and rubbing up against each other. As night fell, Art demanded sex. The woman resisted. So he dragged her into a dark cemetery and took it.

The word “rape” is not used, but it’s clear what occurred. The irony is that Pepper contracted a venereal disease from the encounter.

A few pages later in the book, after Pepper has returned to his hometown of Los Angeles, he describes a sexual compulsion so strong that he becomes a Peeping Tom, drilling holes in hotel room walls to spy on adjoining guests having sex, and prowling his neighborhood to peek into

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