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  • Writer's pictureJanis w

My Encounter with Miles

Encounter with Miles at the airport

I had the good fortune to be in the master trumpeter Clark Terry’s band for thirty years and was fortunate enough to travel with his band to several countries. One particular year we had a been booked for a European tour and our first stop would be at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris, France. When we finally arrived we noticed that the promoters had not arrived yet and so we had time to just relax and take it easy. So there we were with our luggage just waiting for the promoters to arrive. Since we had sometime Clark decided that he would go get some tea and croissants. What better place would there be to get some delicious croissants than France even if it was in the airport.


Clark left us there with luggage, the drummer, pianist and me. If my memory serves me correct I would guess that this happened in the late eighties. Anyway, as we sat there all of the sudden the infamous Miles Davis walks up to us and with his distinctive raspy voice says ‘Where’s Clark’. To this day I still don’t know how Miles knew we were with Clark. You can imagine our amazement and shock to be confronted by a musical icon of this stature. We told him that Clark had gone to get something to eat and that he should be back shortly. So Miles just stood there with his arms crossed, wearing a red leather jump suit, flashy glasses and sporting his distinctive hairdo as he waited for Clark’s return. There we were with this musical giant not knowing what to say. I mean what does one say to this legend “I dug Kind of Blue”. I don’t think so.


All of the sudden in the distance we see Clark walking towards us and finally as he gets within eyeshot he sees Miles standing next to us and yells out ‘INKY’. Now there were only a few people on the planet at that time who could get away with calling Miles Davis INKY and that’s because Clark was a mentor to Miles from back in their days in St. Louis. Miles was from East St. Louis and Clark was from St. Louis. Clark would go to Miles’ house to get permission from Miles’ father, so he could go to the jam sessions when he was still a teenager. Clark Terry was a huge influence on Miles and watching them embrace one another that day in the airport let me know just how much mutual love Miles and Clark had for each other.

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5 days ago

Hi Marcus!

Anna Maria Villa

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