Miles Davis: "You call me and I'll come."


This file appears in: The Jazz Temple
Miles Davis: "You call me and I'll come."

Vintage photo booth shots (“selfies” in today’s vernacular) taken of Winston in Detroit around the time he first met Miles Davis.

Many of Willis’s competitors wondered how such a young man managed to book so many major acts. And although much was often wrongfully attributed to swagger and bluster, Willis, at age 22 was already an experienced and astute businessman. He was only 14 when his family joined in the Great Migration, leaving the family home in Montgomery Alabama and settling on the West side of Detroit. Dropping out of high school in the 10th grade, he established a home-based print advertising business and sold Collier Encyclopedias door-to-door. Having learned carpet laying and floor covering skills at his father’s side, he quickly found gainful and lucrative employment in that field as well.

While in a management role at a Detroit floor covering company, Willis received a called for an estimate on a potential carpet laying job in a large East side home. He arrived at the house and came face to face with one of his all-time music idols, Miles Davis, who was in residence at the home. The two men became friendly, and after a while, Willis told the famed trumpeter of his intentions to open a jazz club someday. And after a few profanity-laden tips on the ins and outs of the business, Davis’s response was: “You call me and I’ll come.” And even though Miles Davis was notoriously aloof and unpredictable and had a well-deserved reputation for not showing up for gigs, he honored his promise to Winston and made several appearances at the Temple.


This file appears in: The Jazz Temple