by sk dunn
when i first met carroll (on my
16th birthday) in 1952 i kept running away from the various
institutions they had stuck me in to go stay with him in D C. they
finally gave up and let me go. so for the next few years i lived
with him in a small basement apartment in southwest (a black
neighborhood) and worked at all sorts of crummy jobs which i would
quit after a few months and go on hitch-hiking trips up and down the
east coast. (FREE AT LAST !!)
carroll use to take me to live jazz
shows around washington and that's how i ended up at the howard
theater to see duke ellington. i had developed the strategy of
getting back stage by saying i wanted the stars autograph (things
were a lot looser around celebrities in those days) and when i got
backstage that night, duke was on a pay phone talking to someone and
i hung around waiting for him while he talked and we grinned at each
other. . .it was great fun and when he was finished he signed my
program and talked to me for a little while and said "love you madly"
when he left.
of historical interest; the night
we went to see the duke was the same day that louis bellson, duke's
drummer announced that he was leaving the band to marry pearl bailey
and lead her band. this caused a huge scandal because he was white.
pearl bailey was playing at a night club in town and we went over to
see her after the show at the howard. we had just seen bellson
playing with duke and he was there playing with pearl at the
nightclub. . .all very exciting !!
by sk dunn
Above: sk's daughter,
at the Napa Valley Playhouse,
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