I just got back from Arkansas and had an absolute blast with the great jazz trumpeter, Clark Terry. I wanted to take some time here to write about my experiences with this truly great musician and person.
I was first introduced to ‘CT’ at William Paterson University while he served as an adjunct faculty member, and honored by the opportunity to perform with an ensemble directed by Clark. He truly is the real deal, and I quickly realized I was learning to play jazz from somebody who, not only was around during its infancy, but lived the music. He taught me what it meant to swing; how being a great performer required so much more than just learning to play one’s instrument proficiently; as well as what it takes to be a good band leader and great entertainer.
In case you’re not already familiar with CT, here’s a little history: He is one of the few musicians to perform in both the Duke Ellington orchestra and Count Basie big band; an amazing accomplishment as these were, and continue to be, the premier groups in jazz history. He went on to have a very successful career as side man as well as a great band leader of his own small groups and big bands.
After each and every opportunity I get to share with CT, I leave with a greater understanding of what it takes to be a musician of the highest order, and the last couple of weeks in Arkansas were no exception.
I strongly encourage you to check out any of the things Clark has been involved with. He has a really wonderful discography that covers the last 60 years of jazz history. Some of my favorite records would have to include “Clark After Dark”, “Serenade to a Bus Seat”, and “Porgy and Bess.” You really can’t go wrong with any of his recordings, but these are definitely a few of my favorites.
I had a great time down in Arkansas and can’t wait for the next time I get schooled by CT!