Clark Terry, jazz musician extraordinare, passed at the age of 94 in recent days. He was an inspiration to me and millions of jazz musicians throughout the world.
Like Clark, I played trumpet and flugelhorn in bands ranging fom jazz quartets to big band jazz groups. My jazz mentors included people who had played professionally with Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Maynard Furgeson and other big bands.
Clark and I shook hands in an elevator at a hotel I stayed at during a Northridge jazz festival in Southern California back in the 1970’s. Clark had heard me play that day and congratulated me for my solo with a big band jazz group. I was stunned beyond belief to see him and to hear his kind words. Yet, that’s who Clark was: a kind, generous and enormously talented man.
We’ve lost some great musicians in my lifetime. The loss of Clark Terry is huge. What a great life he lived.
Here’s a video of him doing a couple of solos with the Tonight Show band. Enjoy!