Clark Terry

Trumpeter Clark Terry, left, tells columnist Nat Hentoff about his distinguished career of more than 60 years. Terry is also this year's recipient of the IAJE Presidents Award.
By Andrew Lepley
Wycliffe Gordon recording with Clark Terry
By Ed Berger
Jazz Legends celebrate at D.C.'s Kennedy Center
By John Abbott
Jon Burr, Dorothy Donegan, Clark Terry, Ray Mosca & Louie Bellson on the SS Norway
By Ken Franckling
The Jazz Cruise founder Anita Berry with Clark Terry
Clark Terry and Eddie Bert at the trombonist's 80th birthday party at Town Hall, May 16, 2002
By Alan D. Sugarman
Phil Schaap and Johnnie Garry present Clark Terry with the Milt Jackson Award at the first annual Charlie Parker Festival at Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem
By Alan Nahigian
Clark Terry
Clark Terry at the 17th Annual Floating Jazz Fest: A Tribute to Clark Terry in 2000
By Ira Sabin
American Jazz Museum director Greg Carroll and Clark Terry
By Dawn DeBlaze
Dan Morgenstern and Clark Terry
By Dawn DeBlaze
Greg Carroll, Alaadeen, Dan Morgenstern, Barrie Hall and Clark Terry
By Dawn DeBlaze
Clark Terry at American Jazz Museum
By Dawn DeBlaze

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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 seven 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 includes greats such as Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Dinah Washington, Ben Webster, Aretha Franklin, Charlie Barnet, Doc Severinsen, Ray Charles, Billy Strayhorn, Dexter Gordon, Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan, Sarah Vaughan, Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims, Milt Jackson, Bob Brookmeyer, and Dianne Reeves.

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, and many other large ensembles – high school and college ensembles, his own duos, trios, 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.

His original compositions include more than two hundred jazz songs, and he co-authored books such as Let’s Talk Trumpet: From Legit to Jazz, Interpretation of the Jazz Language and Clark Terry’s System of Circular Breathing for Woodwind and Brass Instruments with Phil Rizzo.

Writer Chuck Berg said, “Clark Terry is one of contemporary music’s great innovators, and justly celebrated for his great technical virtuosity, swinging lyricism, and impeccable good taste. Combining these with the gifts of a great dramatist, Clark is a master storyteller whose spellbinding musical ‘tales’ leave audiences thrilled and always awaiting more.”

After serving in the navy from 1942-1945 during the historic “Great Lakes Experience,” Clark’s musical star rose rapidly with successful stints in the bands of George Hudson, Charlie Barnet, Charlie Ventura, Eddie Vinson, and then in 1948 – the great Count Basie. In addition to his outstanding musical contribution to these bands, Mr. Terry exerted a positive influence on musicians such as Miles Davis and Quincy Jones, both of whom credit Clark as a formidable influence during the early stages of their careers. In 1951 Clark was asked to join Maestro Duke Ellington’s renowned orchestra where he stayed for eight years as a featured soloist.

Following a tour in the “Free and Easy” musical in 1959 with music director, Quincy Jones, Clark’s international recognition soared when 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.”

After his stint at NBC, between his performances and recording dates at concerts, clubs, cruises and jazz festivals, Clark became more dedicated to his greatest passion – jazz education. He organized a Harlem youth band which became the seed for Jazz Mobile in New York City.

Billy Taylor then asked him to teach in educational institutions. This motivated Clark to organize other youth bands and influence many other jazz legends to teach with him at jazz camps, clinics and festivals at colleges and universities, while still maintaining a hectic performance and recording schedule for the next thirty years.

On December 14, 2010, he celebrated his ninetieth birthday, and his students continue to fly from Australia, Israel, Austria, Canada, the United States, and many other locations to Clark’s home for jazz lessons. Clark says, “Teaching jazz allows me to play a part in making dreams come true for aspiring musicians.”

To celebrate his contributions to jazz education, he has been honored with fifteen honorary doctorates, and three adjunct professorships. He has also received numerous awards from high schools, junior high schools and elementary schools where he has shared his knowledge of jazz.

Among his many awards, he has received honors from his hometown in St. Louis, Missouri which include a Hall of Fame Award from Vashon High School; a Walk of Fame Award and Star on Blueberry Hill in St. Louis, and a life-sized wax figure and memorabilia display at the Griot Museum.

Clark has received dozens of other Hall and Wall of Fame Awards, Jazz Master Awards, 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


Artist’s website

Articles on Clark Terry

02/25/15    News    By JazzTimes

Services for Clark Terry to Be Held Saturday in Harlem

02/22/15    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

Clark Terry, 1920-2015

02/19/15    News    By JazzTimes

Varèse Sarabande to Release “Keep On Keepin’ On” Soundtrack

12/22/14    Features    By David R. Adler

Love Story: "Keep On Keepin' On"

09/04/14    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

Clark Terry Documentary to Be Released

01/01/14    Albums    By Jeff Tamarkin

Grand Masters of Jazz
Swing Fever Presents Clark Terry, Buddy DeFranco, Terry Gibbs and Jackie Ryan

04/03/13    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

JALC Announces 2013 Jazz Hall of Fame Inductees

04/18/12    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

Clark Terry Fundraiser Coming to NYC Apr. 23

01/11/12    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

Clark Terry Tribute Program to Air Sunday Night

10/11/11    Books    By Jack Cooper

Clark: The Autobiography of Clark Terry
Clark Terry

04/29/09    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

Jazz Puppet Show at the Harlem School of the Arts

June 2008    Albums    By Steve Futterman

Louie & Clark Expedition 2
Louie Bellson & Clark Terry

09/19/07    Concerts    By Willard Jenkins

DC Jazz Festival

May 2007    News    By Willard Jenkins

Living History: Jazz Legends Celebrate at D.C.’s Kennedy Center

September 2006    News    By Ed Berger

Impulse Records: Impressive Impulses

04/24/06    Concerts    By Terry Perkins

Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival

January/February 2006    DVDs    By Steve Futterman

Norman Granz Jazz in Montreux: Jazz at the Philharmonic '75
Various Artists

09/21/05    Concerts    By Larry Appelbaum

Thelonious Monk International Jazz Guitar Competition

July/August 2005    Final Chorus    By Nat Hentoff

Who Owns Jazz?

March 2005    Cadenza    By Gary Giddins

Last Year's CD Shelf

December 2004    Big Bands    By Harvey Siders

Porgy & Bess
Clark Terry w/ the Chicago Jazz Orchestra

December 2004    Big Bands    By Harvey Siders

Porgy & Bess
Clark Terry w/ the Chicago Jazz Orchestra

May 2004    Vox    By Christopher Loudon

One Special Night
Shawnn Monteiro/Clark Terry

January/February 2004    Brass Tracks    By David R. Adler

Live at Montmartre
Clark Terry/Ernie Wilkins

January/February 2004    Features    By

Highs and Lows 2003

08/13/03    Concerts    By Ashley Kahn

Hank Jones at The Blue Note

May 2003    Albums    By Doug Ramsey

Clark Terry/Max Roach

April 2003    Final Chorus    By Nat Hentoff

Categorizing the Future of Jazz

03/23/03    Concerts    By Ira Gitler

Marian McPartland's 85th Birthday Celebration

09/26/02    Concerts    By Ira Gitler

Fats Navarro Headstone Dedication and Tribute

June 2002    Albums    By Owen Cordle

1969 All-Star White House Tribute to Duke Ellington
Various Artists

05/06/02    Concerts    By Ira Gitler

Bern Jazz Festival 2002

May 2002    Books    By Jeff Waggoner

You Can’t Steal a Gift—Dizzy, Clark, Milt and Nat
Gene Lees

May 2002    Trumpet Voluntary    By Larry Appelbaum

Clark Terry and His Orchestra Featuring Paul Gonsalves
Clark Terry

April 2002    Albums    By Larry Appelbaum

Monterey Jazz 1958-1980
Various Artists

November 2001    Albums    By Harvey Siders

Herr Ober
Clark Terry

05/08/01    By Ira Gitler

May 2001    Albums    By Jim Ferguson

Three to get Ready
David Friesen with Clark Terry and Bud Shank

December 2000    Albums    By Doug Ramsey

Uh! Oh!
Dave Glasser/Clark Terry/Barry Harris

December 2000    Albums    By Doug Ramsey

Creepin' with Clark
Mike Vax/Clark Terry

October 2000    Gearhead    By Chip Stern

Clark Terry, Terence Blanchard, Ron Miles & Doc Cheatham: Brass Fantasy

December 1998    Albums    By Harvey Pekar

Daylight Express
Clark Terry/Paul Gonsalves

May 1998    Albums    By Stanley Dance

Gentle Duke
Various Artists

March 1998    Albums    By Fred Bouchard

The Songs Ella & Louis Sang
Carol Sloane/Clark Terry



Daylight Express

Chess Records

Live at the Birdland Neuburg


Live on QE2

Chiaroscuro Records

Clark Terry and His Orchestra Featuring Paul Gonsalves


Herr Ober




Live at Montmartre




Porgy and Bess

A440 Music Group

Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture Criminal


Porgy & Bess

Americana Music

One Special Night

Whaling City Sound

1969 All-Star White House Tribute to Duke Ellington

Blue Note Records

Monterey Jazz 1958-1980


Louie & Clark Expedition 2

Percussion Power

Three to get Ready


Uh! Oh!


Creepin' with Clark


Gentle Duke


The Songs Ella & Louis Sang

Concord Jazz
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