Clark Terry

Aug 8, 2014

Clark Terry
Credit The Jazz Trumpeter

Sunday Night Jazz Showcase

Program 31 (August 10 at 11pm)

Clark Terry was born in St. Louis, Missouri on December 14th, 1920. A classic freelance musician who is a welcome and distinctive addition to whatever band or jam session is fortunate enough to be graced by his presence.

Prior to entering the service he played riverboat jobs in St. Louis. After induction he was stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Station from 1942-1945 where he developed his remarkable technique practicing from a clarinet book. Upon his discharge he found work with Lionel Hampton’s band and rounded out the 40s playing with bands led by Charlie Barnet, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson and Charlie Ventura. He also worked with Count Basie's big band and small groups from 1948 thru 1951.

His breakthrough job was with Duke Ellington, with whom he worked from 1951-1959. After working with Quincy Jones in ‘59, he found steady work as a freelance studio artist in New York City, becoming the first black musician on the NBC payroll.

For a dozen years he was featured in the Doc Severinsen band, which played on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show. During this time, Clark worked and recorded with artists like J.J. Johnson, Oscar Peterson, and Ella Fitzgerald, then co-led a quintet with Bob Brookmeyer that achieved some popularity in the early 1960s.

Terry's remarkable technical accomplishment has never overwhelmed the depth of emotion that imbues his playing, and neither of these characteristics has ever dampened his infectious humor. Terry remained a major figure in the history of jazz trumpet into the beginning of the new century, after a lifetime as one of the music's most respected and widely admired ambassadors.

Story provided by Jazz Trumpet Solos