Clark Terry, RIP

clark copyWoke up this morning to the news that the great trumpeter Clark Terry has passed away at age 94. He certainly lived a full and fulfilling life, inspiring musicians right to the very end. If you want some inspiration yourself, I urge you to see the documentary Keep on Keepin’ On. The film is both a loving biography of Terry, with quotes and appearances from some of his proteges, including Quincy Jones and Miles Davis, and it is also a story of Terry’s ongoing passion for sharing and teaching the music — in this case his mentoring relationship/friendship with a young blind jazz pianist named Justin Kauflin. I saw the movie several weeks ago with The Lovely Mrs. JC and when we got home she wanted me to play some Clark Terry on the turntable. I took out the album Duke With a Difference, Riverside 246. I hadn’t listened to it in years and what a joy it was to hear it again. Great, great record with very interesting arrangements and terrific playing. Terry was one of the last links to an era in jazz that we’ll never see again. We were fortunate to have had him for so long as a player, teacher, mentor, innovator, ambassador and giant of the jazz world.


  • …Just put on one of my personal favorites in remembrance of the great Clark Terry: Oscar Peterson Trio + One (Clark Terry)

  • clark terry always seemed to not get his dues in terms of recognition, but man, the dude played on EVERYTHING. almost every even remotely ‘big’ band impulse date, and tons of other stuff. i see him everywhere.

    yusef last christmas and now clark? we’re losing the most friendly figures in jazz now!

  • don-lucky is right on – OP Trio + One is my favorite Clark Terry performance. “Brotherhood of Man” is just fantastic. And my kids love “Mumbles.” He always performed with such joy.

  • And, don’t forget, he played on Brilliant Corners!

  • I bought a couple of his Impulse dates just the other week. He was truly great.

    If you want to hear a great ballad by CT try the November song on the Clark After Dark album on MPS.

  • Well-written tribute to one of the “good ole good ones” as they say. When I put on Wkcr yesterday and heard a number of Clark Terry sides I feared the worst. Great player who crafted his own sound while encouraging younger players to find their own. First saw him in the Doc Severin band on Johnny Carson,becoming a lifelong fan in the process. His spirit and devotion to this music will be missed,but always treasured.
    Incidentally Al,where can that documentary on Terry be seen?

  • …with apologies to Doc Severinsen(oops).

  • CeeDee — I’m pretty sure the DVD is out, so you could purchase it, rent it from Netflix, perhaps even find it at your local library. You’ll love it, I promise.

  • Info on funeral services just out:
    Funeral Services for Clark Terry

    The Abyssinian Baptist Church
    Officiated by Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III
    132. Odell Clark Place
    (West 138th Street between Lenox Ave. & Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.)
    New York, New York 10030

    Saturday, February 28, 2015
    10:00 a.m.

  • I loved the movie ‘keep on keepin on.’ There’s a scene in the movie where he and Justin are listening to a record. Does anyone know what the record is? I’d love to find it because i liked the song they were listening to on the turntable. Thanks!

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