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Clark Terry

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Mumbles (1920- ) Trumpeter and flugelhorn player

NPR Audio Feature NPR's Morning Edition: Clark Terry
Av Harris presents this profile of flugelhorn and trumpet player Clark Terry, best known for his work with Bessie Smith and Duke Ellington.

Clark Terry performed with Charlie Barnet (1947) and in Count Basie's big band and small groups (1948-51) before beginning an important affiliation with Duke Ellington, which lasted from 1951 to 1959. During this period Terry took part in many of Ellington's suites and acquired a lasting reputation for his wide range of styles (from swing to hard bop), technical proficiency, and infectious good humor. After leaving Ellington, he became a frequent performer in New York studios and a staff member of NBC; he appeared regularly on the Tonight Show, where his unique "mumbling" scat singing became famous. He also continued to play jazz with musicians such as J. J. Johnson and Oscar Peterson, and led a group with Bob Brookmeyer that achieved some popularity in the early 1960s. In the 1970s, Terry began to concentrate increasingly on the flugelhorn, from which he obtains a remarkably full, ringing tone. In addition to his studio work and teaching at jazz workshops, Terry toured regularly in the 1980s with small groups (including Peterson's) and performed as the leader of his Big B-A-D Band (formed c 1970). His humor and command of jazz trumpet styles are nowhere more apparent than in his "dialogues" with himself, either on different instruments or on the same instrument, muted and unmuted.

The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For personal, non-commercial use only. Copying or other reproduction is prohibited.
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