With what would've been Bumps Blackwell's 100th bday on Wednesday, the 44th anniversary of Duke Ellington's passing yesterday, & Miles Davis' 92nd bday tomorrow, I want to share a small fraction (because there simply aren't enough words in the dictionary to properly sum it all up, plus we'd be here all day) of the everlasting impact they each made on my life. Bumps was a like a father to my brother Ray Charles & I...he was also the reason I learned to play ALL types of music. We'd do our "regular routine" at the Seattle Tennis Club playing schottisches & pop tunes from 7p-10p, then from 10p-1a, we'd play R&B tunes at places like the Educational Club & the Washington Social. Then, we'd play bebop jam sessions for free at the Elks Club...Then, we'd do it all over again!! Genres didn't matter, because he & Ray (Duke too!) taught me that good music is...good music. Duke was an absolute pioneer & I'm honored that my first TV co-production was a tribute to him. He, along with Miles, led the way & it's because of them that many of us get to do what we do today. I'm running out of space here, but as I reflect on my 85 years of livin'...you never forget the people who took time out of their day to help you as a kid, or that teacher who taught you when you know they didn't have time, or simply that one person who believed in you. I'm grateful to have had so many beautiful souls in my life & I'm honored that these 3 were a part of it. At the end of the day, I hope y'awl read this & understand that your impact outlives you...So, don't forget it, & make it count!
**📸 of Duke & I rehearsing for our CBS special, "Duke, We Love You Madly."**