My beautiful 'sister of the soul' Abbey Lincoln. The birth of a strong friendship through the years. Exceptional, vulnerable lady.
Dizzy or the 'Joyous Soul of Jazz'
This is one of the most precious photographs of the whole collection. The scene is the Hotel Provencal in Juan les Pins during the 1966 Jazz Festival where I met Ellington and was abducted into his clan. We were having "breakfast at midday" in his suite as I sat between his nephew, Stevie James, and immortal Billy "Sweepea" Strayhorn. And of course there is Ellington the Great, entertaining us in his kimono. Photo by Herbie Jones
He came to Rome with Count Basie's Band, totally unheralded. The Italian jazz public did not know him and wanted only to hear Basie. We became friends after the concert and in the next few days I took him around Rome and consoled him, also launching a radio coverage of his artistic achievements. We remained in contact for many years, meeting often in NY and Chicago.
He spent a week in Rome to discover 'my' Eternal City. We developed a strong spiritual bond and he informed me that we meet every 144 years, since ancient Egypt. Why not?
During a TV Special dedicated to Dave Brubeck's Quartet. We had lunch on the Old Appian Way the next day and remained friends for years.
Humourous, sweet, and a good friend. He came to Bassano for Dizzy's 70th birthday 'concert' party.
Feeding Italian gourmet goodies to my sweet buddy Kenny Clarke at "Lino a Solighetto," Marcello Mastroianni's favorite restaurant.
TV Special dedicated to my very favorite flutist Bud Shank.
With trumpetist Enrico Rava (then practically unknown) and saxofonist Steve Lacy. They were steady midnight jammers at my Jazz Club off the Via Veneto.
On the famous bell tower of San Marco in Venice, during a TV special I was producing. Archie Shepp was terrified of heights and would only go up if I were holding his hand, while I hid below the camera sight. He would then open his eyes on my command, look around and express his wonder at the beauty of Venice, for the TV show. It lasted a brief moment, with my hand totally crushed!
Always the late 60's, Italy, with pianist Mal Waldron who toured with me for a few years. He had been Billie Holiday's pianist for some time so we spoke a lot about her. He had a very quiet but sharp sense of humour, we laughed and teased each other a lot. He was also able to play pranks on me on stage at some important Festival, like playing a long complicated intro, then just as I opened my mouth to sing he would start the long complicated intro all over again and I would hear his "heh,heh,heh!" behind me