As part of the week-long GRAMMY celebration of events taking place throughout Los Angeles, the Recording Academy announced the initiation of a new event titled GRAMMY Salute To Jazz. This celebratory gathering, to be held on Wednesday, February 4 at the Knitting Factory Club Hollywood from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., will recognize the lifetime achievements of two jazz icons, Clark Terry and Gerald Wilson. The Gibson/Baldwin Grammy Jazz Ensemble also will perform.
Historically, the Recording Academy has recognized the achievements of numerous jazz artists in various settings," said Recording Academy President Neil Portnow. The Salute To Jazz which we are initiating this year, realizes a personal and an Academy goal, and is a site-specific event that perfectly complements our week-long GRAMMY celebration."
Serving as event co-chairs, are Blue Note Records President Bruce Lundvall and Recording Academy Vice-Chairman Kurt Elling.
Through the years I have worked closely with the Recording Academy in attempting to raise our industry profile," states Lundvall. I applaud the Academy who was pro-active in getting this event off the ground, and the timing could not be better given the optimistic jazz industry dynamics that are currently in play. As chairman of the (JAI) Jazz Alliance International, we realize how vital it is to bring the jazz industry together and recognize the achievements of superb and enduring musicians."
As Recording Academy vice-chair, I am happy to serve as the organization's ad-hoc jazz ambassador," states Elling. The Salute To Jazz event underscores the rejuvenation of jazz in the Recording Academy profile. The Academy's commitment to America's indigenous art form takes on new relevance with this landmark event. As a recording and performing artist from within the jazz community, it is my honor to represent my peers in this worthwhile endeavor."
Possessor of the happiest sound in jazz, flugelhornist Clark Terry always plays music that is exuberant, swinging, and fun. A brilliant (and very distinctive) soloist, Terry gained fame for his Mumbles" vocals (which started as a satire of the less intelligible ancient blues singers) and is also an enthusiastic educator. He gained early experience playing trumpet in the viable St. Louis jazz scene of the early '40s (where he was an inspiration for Miles Davis) and, after performing in a Navy band during World War II, he gained a strong reputation playing with the big band of Charlie Barnet (1947-1948), the orchestra and small groups of Count Basie (1948-1951), and particularly with Duke Ellington (1951-1959).
Terry, a versatile swing/bop soloist who started specializing on flugelhorn in the mid-'50s, had many features with Ellington (including Perdido") and started leading his own record dates during that era. He visited Europe with Harold Arlen's The Free & Easy show of 1959-1960 as part of Quincy Jones' Orchestra, and then joined the staff of NBC where he was a regular member of the Tonight Show Orchestra. He recorded regularly in the 1960s including a classic set with the Oscar Peterson Trio and several dates with the quintet he co-led with valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer. Throughout the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, he remained a major force, recording and performing in a wide variety of settings including at the head of his short-lived big band in the mid-'70s, with all-star groups for Pablo, and as a guest artist who can be expected to provide happiness in every note he plays.
For more than 50 years, Gerald Wilson has been recognized as one of the premiere composers, arrangers and bandleaders in modern jazz. Now in his 85h year, the perennially humble Wilson has garnered his share of accolades, including five Grammy nominations, top Big Band and Composer/Arranger honors in the DownBeat International Critics Poll, the Paul Robeson Award, the NEA American Jazz Masters Fellowship, and two 1997 American Jazz Awards for Best Arranger and Best Big Band. In 1996, Wilson received the rare honor of having his life"s work archived by the Library of Congress.
At the age of 21, he was invited to join the highly popular Jimmie Lunceford band in New York City. After four years with Lunceford and a stint in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Wilson settled in Los Angeles, playing trumpet and writing for Benny Carter and Les Hite. In 1944 he organized the first Gerald Wilson Jazz Orchestra, featuring trombonist Melba Liston and trumpeter Snooky Young among its members. In 1948 he went on the road as a member of Count Basie's big band, a learning experience itself in what Wilson calls the cradle of swing." In 1949, he joined his good friend and fellow trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie's group. Wilson later scored for motion pictures (Otto Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder) and television (ABC's variety program, The Redd Foxx Show, serving also as the show"s conductor and music director), achieving a balance of creative fulfillment and commercial success.
One of the most generous of artists, Wilson has continually sought ways to share his knowledge and passion, from hosting a daily jazz program on L.A.'s KBCA in the early 1970s to teaching jazz history for 13 years at California State University Northridge, six years at Cal State L.A., and most recently at UCLA. It helps keep me alive," he explains, because jazz is such a chain of evolution. I just try to be a person worthy of being a part of this great art form."
The Salute to Jazz reception will take place as part of GRAMMY Week, a host of events that will lead up to the 46th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, February 8. The GRAMMY Awards will emanate live from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, and will be broadcast on the CBS Television Network, 8 11:30 p.m. (EST/PST).
Established in 1957, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc., also known as the Recording Academy, is dedicated to improving the quality of life and cultural condition for music and its makers. An organization of musicians, producers and other recording professionals, the Recording Academy is internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards, and is responsible for numerous groundbreaking outreach, professional development, cultural enrichment, education and human services programs.