Clark Terry fundraising event set for April

There is never a shortage of jazz fundraisers going on, but this one is for one of the best in the business. Clark Terry is now home, but ended up having to have both legs removed during his time in the hospital. You can read up on his condition here, and leave him a note here. The press release about the event is below.

Gwen Terry, The Duke Ellington Society, International Women in Jazz, Jazz Foundation of America and Saint Peter’s Church – Jazz Ministry are partnering to produce a fundraiser for Clark Terry on Monday, April 23 at 7 PM at Saint Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street, New York City.

Over 30 musicians will perform for their colleague, Clark Terry, to raise funds to help defray Clark’s medical expenses. Clark Terry plans to appear at the event via Skype.

Suggested donation is $25 at the door.

Checks should be written to Jazz Foundation of America with “Clark Terry account” in the memo line.

Donations can also be sent to Jazz Foundation of America, 322 W. 48th Street, New York, NY 10036. (212) 245-3999.

Clark Terry’s career in jazz spans more than seventy years. He is a world-class trumpeter, flugelhornist, educator, composer, writer, trumpet/flugelhorn designer, teacher and NEA Jazz Master. He has performed for eight U.S. Presidents, and was a Jazz Ambassador for State Department tours in the Middle East and Africa. More than fifty jazz festivals have featured him at sea and on land in all seven continents. Many have been named in his honor.

He is one of the most recorded musicians in the history of jazz, with more than nine-hundred recordings. Clark’s discography reads like a “Who’s Who in Jazz,” with personnel that include greats such as Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Dinah Washington, Ben Webster, Aretha Franklin, and the list goes on.

Among his numerous recordings, he has been featured with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Count Basie Orchestra, Dutch Metropole Orchestra, Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Woody Herman Orchestra, Herbie Mann Orchestra, Donald Byrd Orchestra, quartets, quintets, sextets, octets, and two big bands – Clark Terry’s Big Bad Band and Clark Terry’s Young Titans of Jazz.

His Grammy and NARAS Awards include: 2010 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, NARAS President’s Merit Award, three Grammy nominations, and two Grammy certificates.

He broke the color barrier by accepting an offer in 1960 from the National Broadcasting Company to become its first African American staff musician. He was with NBC for twelve years as one of the spotlighted musicians in the Tonight Show band. During that time, he scored a smash hit as a singer with his irrepressible “Mumbles.”

Clark has received dozens of other Hall and Wall of Fame Awards, NEA Jazz Master Award in 1991, keys to cities, lifetime achievement awards (four were presented to him in 2010), trophies, plaques and other prestigious awards. The French and Austrian Governments presented him with their esteemed Arts and Letters Awards, and he was knighted in Germany.

His long-awaited book – Clark: The Autobiography of Clark Terry– is available now, published by University of California Press.

For a complete biography on Clark Terry, visit his website at 
Clark Terry Fundraiser
April 23, 2012, 7 PM
Saint Peter’s Church
619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street
New York, NY
“E” train to Lexington Avenue or “6” to 51st Street
212 935 2200

Jazz Foundation of America with “Clark Terry account” in the memo line.
322 W. 48th Street, New York, NY 10036. (212) 245-3999.

Two ways to celebrate the life of Clark Terry and ‘Keepin on’

Trumpeter, composer, bandleader and jazz educator Clark Terry will be 91 years old this week. His 70-plus year career is being celebrated with a couple of biographical events.

Due out soon is a film which takes its title from Mr. Terry’s favorite phrase of support, “Keep on keepin’on!

The book “Clark-The Autobiography of Clark Terry” was released in October to great praise from the jazz community and press. In it, Clark talks about his beginnings in St. Louis and tells stories about his work with Charlie Barnet, Count Basie and Duke Ellington.

Also, he discusses his time as a staff musician at NBC, which included 12 years with the Tonight Show band, and the discovery of his calling to teach and mentor young musicians, which he says is the joy of his life. Thousands of students and others he has encouraged adore Clark, or “Cee Tee,” as he’s known to many.

The book, written with his wife Gwen, is so conversational that it’s very much like an extended visit with Clark. He’s a born storyteller, whether with his trumpet or with words. I found it delightful from start to finish.

First person (by Robin Lloyd)

Folks who spend any time with Clark Terry love to talk about the experience. I’m no exception.  Here’s my Cee Tee story:

In March of 1980, I was a fledgling jazz host and producer at a little gem of a public radio station, WFBE-FM in Flint, MI. When I heard that Clark Terry was coming to Flint to do clinics, workshops and concerts with high school and college bands, I begged and pleaded with the Mott Community College band director (a very patient man named Chuck Iwanusa, who is still teaching somewhere, I believe) to bring Clark to the station to tape an interview. He agreed, we set a time, and wonder of wonders, I was soon sitting down with Chuck and Clark Terry and a tape machine. This was my first radio interview with a major jazz artist.

Cee Tee is what I refer to as the radio host’s ideal guest:  the self-winding interviewee.

You ask a basic question, you get a well-thought out answer, a couple of interesting stories to go along with it, and if you’re lucky, a good joke, too.  Clark had it all!

I asked the simple ones (Clark built his first trumpet with parts from junkyard) and Chuck helped with specific questions to fill in details (getting stood up by Lionel Hampton, waiting for the call from Duke Ellington and, when it finally came, thinking it was a friend playing a joke.  This happened twice.).

I confess to just sitting back and taking it all in, listening to this acclaimed musician whose recordings I loved and whose appearances on television were a big event in my house.  I will never forget his brilliant smile, his twinkling eyes and his laugh as we chatted across the table.

It was over all too soon. On our way out of the studio, I complimented Clark, always a sharp dresser, on his beautifully-made winter coat.

He shared one more story:  the coat belonged to his wife Pauline, who had passed away just four months previously.  He wore it to keep her close, and to feel her warmth.

He was still in mourning, but he’d made a commitment to work with these students in Flint, and he was not about to let them down.

We hugged, and made plans to visit backstage at the concert he’d give at the end of the week of clinics and workshops.

My copy of the taped interview was lost years ago in a flooded basement.

I have one Polaroid snapshot of me and Cee Tee backstage on concert night. I treasure that picture, and I keep it handy for those times when I need to be reminded to “keep on keepin’ on!”

Send Clark a note

Clark has been in hospital since mid-October, and last week had his right leg amputated. Gwen reads him all the greetings left on his website’s guestbook and in the comments on his blog. It really cheers him to hear from those he’s influenced and encouraged through the years. Send him some birthday love this week.

Related Posts:

Clark Terry Documentary Near Completion

KPLU Studio Session: Kevin Kniestedt interviews Clark Terry

Clark Terry Documentary Near Completion

Kevin Kniestedt interviewing Clark Terry in the KPLU studios in 2007

I could not think of a living jazz musician more deserving of a documentary about him or herself than the great Clark Terry.

It was a true high point in my career when I had the opportunity to interview Clark Terry a couple of years back, hearing about what it was like to instruct Miles Davis, play with both Duke Ellington and Count Basie, and to hear him perform “Mumbles” a few feet in from of my face.

Now, his influence and inspiration will be brought to the screen in a documentary called “Keep on Keepin’ On”.

The film primarily focuses on Terry’s influence on two musicians: the co-producer of the film (and drummer) Alan Hicks, and blind pianist Justin Kauflin, both in their twenties.

Terry, who is 90, maintains the same intensity and straight talk with these two students as he might have with former students like Quincy Jones and Miles Davis. The phrase “Keep on Keepin’ On” is a phrase that Terry has used for over 70 years in an effort to motivate and inspire students.

The filmmakers have been attempting to fund the film out of pocket, but have also incorporated donations through Kickstarter, a unique participatory funding resource that allows individuals to contribute to the project. Depending on how much individuals might give, donors can receive a variety of Clark Terry memorabilia. Donations are being accepted through August 8th.

The film also follows Terry as he works on his autobiography, due for release in October.

Congratulations to Clark Terry, not only one of the few remaining living legends of jazz, but someone who has spent so much time educating and mentoring others in the art.

Support this film
Related Links:

Remembering Duke Ellington on his 110th Birthday with Clark Terry

Clark Terry Honored at the Grammy Awards

Clark Terry Honored at the Grammy Awards

Is there a jazz musician alive today that deserves the Lifetime Achievement award more than Clark Terry? I’m happy to see that he was recognized for that award this year at the Grammy Awards, along with Bobby Darin, Michael Jackson, David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Loretta Lynn and Andre Previn. Clark was quoted as saying at the ceremony “I’m going to keep doing it until I get it right”. Congrats to one of my trumpet heroes, and the man that still possesses the happiest sound in jazz.

Rick Diamond /