Clark and Gwen’s trip to DC

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to D.C. to sing “Mumbles” during the Thelonious Monk Institute Vocal Competition. The audience seemed to enjoy what I did because they were smiling and applauding. When I laughed, they were laughing, too. I had a ball! That standing ovation brought tears to my eyes.

The whole evening was wonderful. The judges were outstanding – Al Jarreau, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Kurt Elling and Patti Austin, Gladys Knight performed too! It was a blast to hang out with them backstage. People took lots of pictures of us. The ones below were taken by Gwen. When somebody snapped one of me with Gladys Knight, I said, “I feel like one of the Pips!”

It was good to see a lot of my old buddies like Jimmy and Mona Heath, Terence Blanchard and Wayne Shorter. I hung out with my friends who run the Institute – Thelonious, Jr., Gayle Monk, Tom and Sherry Carter, Michelle Day and J.B. Dyas, Kris and Janet Colley and so many others.

The parties were hip and the food was incredible. I remember those big juicy Portabello mushrooms, real creamy mashed potatoes and tasty roast beef. I even cheated a little off my diet and had some Red Velvet cake and Key Lime pie. Yummmm.

It was also nice to have many interruptions during my meal from people who came up and told me how they enjoyed my performance.

After the festivities were over, some surprise guests came by the hotel to say hello. Esperanza Spalding and her pianist, Leo, hung out with me, Terri Lyne Carrington and Lois Gilbert. Lois took these shots of me you see below. I hadn’t met Esperanza before, but Gwen had played some of her videos on YouTube for me. Esperanza is a very talented young musician. We had talked on the phone, so I was so happy to meet her in DC.

All and all, it was a perfect trip. Even the flights were fabulous coming and going. United Airlines rolled out the red carpet, and I really had a good time.

The Institute invited me to come back next year to celebrate their 25th anniversary. I can’t believe that it was twenty-five years ago when we all got together to get things going – Thelonious, Jr. Marie Fisher, Jimmy Heath, Tom Carter, Bill Cosby and a few others. I’m really proud of the way it has grown.

I feel very blessed to continue doing what I’ve always enjoyed doing, as I approach my 90th birthday on December 14th. The “Old Man Upstairs” is mighty good to let me stay involved in jazz!

Keep on keepin’ on

| happenings | 5 Comments

5 Responses to Clark and Gwen’s trip to DC

  1. Dr. DeLyle Dvorak says:

    CT: Pat & I think of you often & always recall how warmhearted you always were to the students in my bands and to my own children back in the Portland days. You have always been such a tremendous inspiration to musicians everywhere. Wishing you the best always!
    DeLyle & Pat Dvorak from Las Vegas

  2. CY I so much wanted to snd my love to you on your birthday but my computer was in the computerhospiat thanks to some spyware.
    But now: happy birthday, marry christmas and a happy new year.
    All the best from Ed in Sweden.

  3. Ernie Hurwitz says:

    As I get older and the more times I hear Mumbles, I seem to better understand its deep philosophical meanings.
    I dig your clarity – keep it going for many, many , many more years.

  4. Ciao Mr. Clark. Happy Birthday and many more. I treasure the moments I have enjoyed playing Bass Trombone with you; first time was at the Club Baron in the late 60s – I was subbing for Jack Jeffers. The next time was during the recording session for the Manhattan Brass Choir also in the late 60s – you and
    Urbie Green were the guest artists on the record. You blew me away when you played “fours” with yourself, alternating between Flugelhorn and muted Trumpet! Of course, “Mumbles” has always cracked me up. You are a precious element of Jazz history. My dear friend, Lloyd Michels was responsible for
    sending me in to sub on the Big Band. Ne doesn’t have a computer right now so I’ll wish you a very happy birthday and lots of love from Lloyd.
    God loves you and so do I !!! Tony Salvatori

  5. Matt Doudalis says:

    I always have been a huge fan since I was in 7th grade when I bought my first Terry casette. I have all of his recordings and am a trumpet player as well. I would love to see Clark come to Chicago. I have seen him 8 times so far. Spoke with him at the bar. Great artist and a great guy.