A Jazz Musician Tells the Story of His Life

The Root Recommends: The life and legacy of the late iconic jazz drummer Papa Jo Jones -- in his own words.

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University of Minnesota Press

A no-holds-barred biography of the late jazz drummer Papa Jo Jones -- Rifftide: The Life and Opinions of Papa Jo Jones -- is rife with stories of musical ingenuity amid the racial strife of the swing era and beyond. Rifftide also presents the jazz musician's innermost thoughts.

Rifftide is a collection of conversations between Jones and novelist Albert Murray that spanned eight years, from 1977 to just before Jones' death in 1985. The biography, with its fair share of humorous and witty anecdotes, holds true to Jones' unabashed and outrageous personality.

Rifftide: The Life and Opinions of Papa Jo Jones is available now.

Previous recommendation: Harry Belafonte Looks Back in Memoir.

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