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Interviews with Clark Terry: Trumpeter, Composer, Mentor. In Memoriam.

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The career of celebrated jazz trumpeter Clark Terry (Dec. 14, 1920 – Feb. 21, 2015 ) spanned more than seven decades and included performing with Count Basie and Duke Ellington in the late 1940s and 1950s, and with Quincy Jones. His many awards include a Jazz Master Award from the NEA (1991), 16 honorary doctorates and Trumpeter of the Year (2005) from the Jazz Journalist Association. Terry served as an informal teacher and mentor to both Miles Davis and Jones and was interviewed for American Masters – Quincy Jones: In the Pocket (2001), written, directed and produced by Michael Kantor.

Kantor remembers, “Clark Terry was a giant. He played for the greatest bandleaders of all time, including Count Basie and Duke Ellington, and literally taught Quincy Jones how to play trumpet. Throughout his life he was a mentor to so many young talents. In fact, there is a recent documentary about Terry’s gift for inspiration, Keep on Keepin’ On. He was a pleasure to interview, generous with his time and talent.”

Count Basie’s Space and Time

Clark Terry illustrates Count Basie’s utilization of space and time in music with stories of how Basie socialized at the Cherry Blossom Club in Kansas City, and of Basie’s change to the tempo of trumpeter/composer Neal Hefti’s classic, “Li’l Darlin’.”

Touring the South with All-Black Band

Clark Terry describes an era when touring the South with an all-black big band was a “chore.” It was difficult to find a place to eat or lodge and price gouging was common, he says.


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