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Clark Terry: Herr Ober

Oh what merry romps these be: one is by land, two is by sea. All the merrier because these are live, master classes in spontaneity by a trumpeter who knows how to entertain an audience without sacrificing jazz values. Clark Terry demonstrates all the decades of his accumulated jazz tricks, licks plus humorous asides during these two gigs, nearly a year apart. The first took place at Germany’s Birdland Neuburg, in 2000, shortly after he turned 80; the second aboard the QE2 in November 1999.

Taking them chronologically, Live on QE2 captures the essence of floating jazz: bop lines and Cunard lines. It was a captive audience of 1,750, including friends of Terry who sat in: Shirley Horn, Etta Jones, Vanessa Rubin, Carrie Smith, even Oscar Peterson. As the “captain’s log” explains, the microphone was passed down to Peterson who sang “Route 66” from the audience. Great history, but an impossible mix; it was not included on the CD.

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