NEW YORK (AP) — Terri Lyne Carrington is just 11 years old and hanging backstage at a concert hall with her friend “Ella” — that’s Ella Fitzgerald to us mere mortals — and the jazz legend wants to introduce her to jazz virtuoso Oscar Peterson, who had just finished performing.
“Ella Fitzgerald says, ‘You need to hear her,’” Carrington, now 55, recalls. “She was just somebody who would encourage me and hang out with me. She was shy, and I was disarming because I was a kid. She took a liking to me.”
So Peterson invites the young drummer to perform alongside him before the audience escapes. They jam onstage, impressing the crowd. One attendee — the then-President of Berklee College of Music — was so wowed he offered Carrington a scholarship to the exceptional music school.