I quoted precious interview from JazzWax.[April 06, 2009]
He listened many jazz records by Wallace Conway, who was his friend and lived nearby.
Wallace Conway’s father painted movie posters for all the black theaters in our neighborhood.
Wallace Conway’s father and Duke Ellington had gone to school together as art students when they were teenagers.
Therefore it seems that he became to like Duke Ellington.
His house was so close to famous ‘The Howard Theater’ in Washington, D.C.
”Many of the other big-name bands had come into the Howard once or twice before Duke came for the first time. So when he played there, it was a really big deal. His music was so different from everything else you heard. And everything about Duke was special. I remember standing outside and watching the guys in his band.’’
Fats Waller was his idols.
He deeply regretted not having talked to Fats Waller.
”As I’m standing backstage, Fats passed by with his entourage, and I just stared at him. I didn’t have nerve enough to say anything. ［…]
Fats went around the corner on U Street to a hamburger place. I came in soon after and took a seat as close as I could but far enough not to be noticed. I just sat and listen to him tell some stories. Then he and his group got up and left. And I hadn’t said a word. ”