(American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Deems Taylor Awards Timothy White Award, and Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research)
Man, I tell you, Big Prez (Clark’s nickname for God) keeps sending reasons for me to stay positive. It’s good to have more reasons. At 91 years old, I need all of the reasons that I can get. And I’m very grateful, in spite of losing my front tooth.
I just want to thank all of the kind folks who voted for me. Seriously. I’m glad that they liked my work. It took a long, long time to get all of the facts down. Over twenty years. I had a lot of fun reminiscing about those memories. Gwen and a whole bunch of folks helped me to finish my book, and I was blessed to have a great publisher (University of California Press).
When I got the letter from Paul Williams (President and Chairman of the Board at ASCAP), letting me know that my book had won such a prestigious award, it really made me happy. You know, I had to thank Big Prez right then!
I wish that I could have been at the ASCAP award ceremony in New York a few days ago. But, it just wasn’t in the cards. I would have thanked Paul and everybody there for doing so many beautiful things for our music.
ASCAP has been right in there for years, taking care of business, recognizing folks, publicizing the happenings, and things like that. So, since I couldn’t be there, the good thing is that when the good folks at ASCAP asked me if Jon Faddis could accept my award for me, it worked out. Some of the cats at the ceremony said that Jon and David (Hazeltine) did a great job playing “Come Sunday,” and Jon said some nice words for me. Man, I want to thank you both for that! (For more info in a recent JazzTimes article, please click here.)
On top of the ASCAP honor, I found out that I had won an award from ARSC. Now, that’s when I got quiet. I just had to think about it, you know, and thank Big Prez for another big blessing. It was a good feeling to know that the nice cats at ARSC thought that my book was worthy of their award. I was thinking, Out of all of the books out there, they chose mine. That was really beautiful. And as soon as I find out about the ARSC award ceremony, I’ll hip you to it.
All of these big blessings keep me from feeling like an old fart. Keep me going. Keep me hanging in, over and around. As long as I’m not hanging under, I’m okay. Talking about blessings, my old buddy, Doc (Severisen), came to see me. Man! He said that he loved my book, too, especially what I wrote about him. I tell you, things like that really mean a lot. It was just beautiful hanging out with Doc, shooting the breeze about the years we played in Charlie Barnet’s band and The Tonight Show Band, listening to some music that we recorded together here and there.
Some of my students are coming to celebrate my 92nd birthday on December 14th. You know how I love my students! Man, I’m so proud of them. I’m thanking Big Prez for them, and for giving me another year. And I want to thank you all for being in my corner. I appreciate each and every one of you for all of the prayers, and for pulling for me.
I love you and God bless you!