AFRO-AMERICAN MUSIC INSTITUTE CELEBRATES 36 YEARS
Pain Relief Beyond Belief
Our beloved Clark Terry has joined the big band in heaven where he’ll be singing and playing with the angels. He left us peacefully, surrounded by his family, students and friends. Clark has known and played with so many amazing people in his life. He has found great joy in his friendships and his greatest passion was spending time with his students. We will miss him every minute of every day, but he will live on through the beautiful music and positivity that he gave to the world. Clark will live in our hearts forever. With all my love, Gwen Terry If you would like to share your favorite stories about Clark, please do so in the Guestbook or on his Facebook page.
Obituary of Clark Terry as appeared in issue of Variety, by Christopher Morris, music reporter.
Trumpeter Clark Terry, who excelled as a leader and sideman in big bands and small combos during his seven-decade career in jazz, has died at 94.
Terry, a 2010 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, entered hospice care on Feb. 13, suffering from the effects of advanced diabetes.
“He left us peacefully, surrounded by his family, students and friends,” his wife Gwen wrote on his Facebook page Saturday.
Among the most prolific and widely admired instrumentalists in jazz, Terry led or co-led more than 80 recording dates and played on more than 900 sessions by the time of his last session in 2004.
Also proficient on flugelhorn, Terry was best known to the general public as a longtime featured soloist in the house band of NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” In 1960, he became the first African-American staff musician with the network.
Born in St. Louis, Terry began playing in high school, and he played in the U.S. Navy band during World War II. After the war, he began his recording career with R&B saxophonist-singer Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s combo and saxophonist Charlie Barnet’s big band (alongside trumpeter Doc Severinsen, later the leader of the “Tonight Show” band).
During the late ’40s and through the ’50s, he held back-to-back gigs with the two most prestigious big bands in jazz: the Count Basie and Duke Ellington orchestras. (In 1959, he was part of the group that performed Ellington’s score for director Otto Preminger’s feature “Anatomy of a Murder.”)
Comfortable in both swing and bebop formats, he also worked during this period as a sideman with Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Stan Getz, Johnny Hodges, Gerald Wilson, Thelonious Monk, Billy Strayhorn, Sonny Rollins, Bud Powell and Ray Charles. He also worked in the big band of leader-composer-arranger Quincy Jones, for whom he served as an early mentor (as he did with another celebrated trumpeter, Miles Davis).
During the ’60s, he continued to record as a leader while doing sideman duty with Louis Armstrong, Charles Mingus, Johnny Griffin, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Yusef Lateef, Dizzy Gillespie, Oliver Nelson, Wes Montgomery, J.J. Johnson, the Modern Jazz Quartet and Cannonball Adderley, among many others. He appeared on several albums toplined by “Tonight Show” bandleaders Severinsen and Skitch Henderson. He began a fruitful collaboration with trombonist Bob Brookmeyer’s big band in 1961.
In 1964, Terry – known for his sly humor and his trumpet-and-vocal conversations on the bandstand – actually scored something like a pop hit, when he scatted on his composition “Mumbles,” featured on “The Oscar Peterson Trio Plus One” (with Terry the titular “plus one”). The novel collaboration with Canadian pianist Peterson’s group propelled the album to No. 81 on the U.S. album chart.
From the ’70s onward, Terry continued to record but increasingly concentrated on touring, with Peterson and his own Big B-A-D Band. He began mounting his own branded jazz festivals in 2000.
He focused his energy on musical education in later years. A Harlem youth band he founded ultimately helped germinate New York’s celebrated “Jazz Mobile” program for youngsters. He also taught and lectured at a number of high schools, colleges and music camps.
A National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, he – like Louis Armstrong and others before him – served as a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. State Department, touring the Middle East and Africa.
Terry published his autobiography “Clark” in 2011. He was featured in the 2014 documentary “Keep on Keepin’ On,” about his relationship with a blind 23-year-old pianist.
Survivors include his wife.
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FUNERAL FOR JAZZ LEGEND CLARK TERRY
To be held at the Harlem historic Abyssinian Baptist Church
The jazz world mourns the loss of Clark Terry, who passed away on February 21, 2015. We also celebrate the joy he brought to countless thousands of people whose lives he touched: through his music, his teaching, his joyous sense of humor, his kindness and his humility. He was an inspiration to us all. Clark Terrys amazing music was a reflection of the amazing person that he was. He was an ambassador for Jazz, and an encouragement to countless musicians that came after him.
"I am honored and truly blessed to have known Clark Terry as a friend, and while I am not a musician, he was my mentor as well, since he taught me how to deal with life's challenges and life's gifts with humility, grace and always with love." -Lois Gilbert, JazzCorner.com
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
Media Crews should arrive by 9:30 AM for set-up
The Abyssinian Baptist Church
(212) 862-7474 x255
Clark will be laid to rest at the Woodlawn Cemetery immediately following the service. Funeral services entrusted to P.K. Miller Mortuary, Pine Bluff, Arkansas and George H. Weldon Funeral Home, New York City.
In lieu of flowers: The family is asking that donations be made to the Jazz Foundation of America which has helped over the years to make sure that Clark's needs were met. Please note when making donations online that they be noted "In Honor of Clark Terry" http://jazzfoundation.org/memory_honor
If you are donating by check, please send to Jazz Foundation of America
Jazz Foundation of America
322 West 48th Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10036
For nearly half a century, Clark's greatest passion was helping to make young musicians' dreams come true. He was a tremendous source of inspiration, of love, of respect, of decency, and of human rights. He was one of the first recruits of the United States Navy when black musicians were given the Rating of Musician in 1942. From being one of the few musicians who played as a featured soloist in both the Count Basie and the Duke Ellington Orchestras, to being the first black staff musician at NBC, Clark had multiple bands including big bands, youth bands and other ensembles. He was one of the most recorded jazz musicians in history on more than 900 albums.
Clark's devotion towards mentoring young musicians influenced the lives of worldwide master talents such as Quincy Jones, Miles Davis, Marsalis and Dianne Reeves amongst countless others. Clark inspired everyone by example. As he was quoted in the documentary about his life and love for mentoring students, Keep On Keepin' On, "Your mind is a powerful asset. Use it for positive thoughts and you'll learn what I've learned. I call it getting on the plateau of positivity."
His many honors include NEA Jazz Master and the recipient of the Lifetime Grammy award. His beloved wife Gwen, has been by his side for the last 25 plus years.
For complete information on Clark Terry please visit http://clarkterry.com
If you are inclined, please share your memories on his guestbook. You can also post to his Facebook page
Greatly enjoyed Mr. Terry's work with
Oliver Nelson and Wes Montgomery along with many others. Rest in peace in the Arms of The Lord.