Tomorrow I fly back to Europe to begin a 2.5 week tour. I’ll be starting out in Edinburgh, Scotland for the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, and then continuing on with stops in Paris, Belgium, and Sweden. It’s 3:30 in the morning now, and I’m almost finished packing. How do I know that? My suitcase weighs a ton. And it’s (unfortunately) not because it’s full of clothes and shoes! I travel with CDs in my suitcase, and they take up about a quarter of the space and half of the allowed weight. CDs are HEAVY. It must have been different back in the days when musicians didn’t travel with CDs in their suitcases. Did some of them travel with LPs? I don’t know, but I never remember Clark Terry bringing any merchandise to sell (Louis Bellson? That’s a different story. That man had watches, towels, books, CDs, pens, and more gadgets with his name on it than you could shake a stick at).
Whenever I’m packing for a trip I always think about Clark. Over the years I saw him traveling many a time, always with an ENORMOUS suitcase that was completely stuffed to the brim. He carried WEIGHTS with him whenever he traveled so he could work out. WEIGHTS. Can you imagine? And he, being a very dapper dresser, always liked to have many options in terms of ties and shoes. I think, were he to see how little clothing items go into my suitcase, he would be either appalled or impressed. Or maybe a combination of both.
Another thing he always did was travel to the airport dressed for the gig, no matter how many planes it was going to take to get there. He wanted to be prepared, in case he missed a connection or was simply late, to walk from the plane, to the car, to the stage. I saw him do that one time, at a concert in Norman OK in the late 80’s (or early 90’s?) when I was a little girl. The show was at the Sooner Theater and my father was the producer of the show, as well as performing. Clark’s plane landed in Oklahoma City just as the concert was supposed to start. The band started without him while he traveled by car to Norman, getting his horn out and ready in the car. When he arrived at the theater he walked in the backstage door and onto the stage, playing. Quite an entrance!
While I try to look as stylish as possible while remaining comfortable on the plane, I don’t go so far as to dress prepared for the gig. I do carry a full outfit with me (shoes and makeup too), just in case my luggage doesn’t arrive on time. I learned that lesson the hard way, and if you were there in Spain for that concert you saw me wearing a dress I had to borrow from the concert promoter’s MOTHER. It was a lovely dress, but nonetheless, borrowed.