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‘Milkshake’ provides musical inspiration to sixth-graders
by Liz Marino
lmarino@neighbornewspapers.com
October 10, 2012 02:26 PM | 1860 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print

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Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Clark Terry, Freddie Hubbard, Cab Calloway, “Dizzy” Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis — to music lovers, especially jazz enthusiasts, these names conjure up the sweet sounds of trumpet.

Add another name to your list: Milkshake Mayfield.

While the name “Milkshake” may not have become a household word in the musical sense, the Douglasville resident has played with the best of them.

Yes, his legal name is Milkshake, from a nickname he obtained as a child.

“Whenever the ice cream man came around, I always got two milkshakes — one for now and one for later. Everyone started calling me ‘Milkshake’ and the name stuck.”

Sixth-grade band students at Turner Middle School got a taste of Milkshake on Oct. 1 when he was invited to the class by his former neighbor and a band parent, Deborah Griffin.

Milkshake was accompanied on lead guitar by fellow musician Bobby Latham.

Griffin’s daughter, Athena Amos, who plays clarinet at Turner, performed a duet with Milkshake during the visit.

The duo performed the classic “Ode to Joy.”

Milkshake, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University) in Atlanta, has had a number of “day jobs” during his musical career. He retired from MARTA, works part time for Willie Watkins Funeral Home in Douglasville and devotes much of his time to his long-held musical endeavors.

He has performed with a number of musical greats throughout his career, performing at such venues as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. His music has taken him all over the world, he told the students.

“My instrument takes me places I’d never through I’d go,” he said.

He told the sixth-graders, “If you have a dream and desire to travel the world, you have to practice even when you don’t feel like practicing.”

He has also met — and played with — some of his heroes.

“I met Duke Ellington during my first year in college," said Milkshake. “I met Wynton Marsalis in the 1980s in Europe. He sent me one of his horns.”

His friend, Marsalis, sent him the first of Milkshake’s custom-made Dave Monet trumpets.

His most influential musicians are Freddie Hubbard and Clark Terry.

Milkshake takes every opportunity to speak with young musicians.

He got his first instrument in the fifth grade

“I like to inspire young musicians,” he said. “Whenever I can inspire a child, I do that, just like I was inspired by others.”

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