StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: A birthday tribute to Clark Terry


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This coming Monday, December 14 would have been the 95th birthday of the legendary trumpeter and St. Louis native Clark Terry. Though Terry passed away in February 2015 after several years of declining health, his spirit continues to inspire and his music lives on, and today StLJN pays tribute to his memory with some online music videos featuring him.

Of course, as one of the most significant jazz musicians to come out of St. Louis, Terry has been featured many times before in this space. If you don't already know about him and his many accomplishments, please check out the video retrospective compiled here after his death earlier this year, as well as last year's birthday tribute.

Today, you can enjoy a collection of clips never seen before here on StLJN. Up top, you can see Terry doing two songs recorded in 1980 or thereabouts with his former employers the “Tonight Show" band, starting with an up-tempo blues and then playing and singing Fats Waller's “Squeeze Me," a staple number for him for many years.

After the jump, you can see two clips from a 1972 show in France, in which Terry sings and plays “My Gal Blues" and his signature song “Mumbles."

Below that, there's a video from 1975 in which Terry guests with the Toshiko Akioshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band, playing the intro and several standout solo choruses on a blues-based Akioshi composition called “Henpecked Old Man."

Next, Terry breaks out the muted trumpet to tip his hat to another former employer, playing Duke Ellington's “Mood Indigo" at a performance in 1985 at Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen, Denmark with the help of pianist Duke Jordan, bassist Jimmy Woode, and drummer Svend Nørregaard.

That's followed by a video of Terry sitting in and taking the first solo on “Straight No Chaser" with the Gene Harris Quartet in 1998 at the Internationales Jazzfestival Bern. In addition to Harris on piano, the band includes Frank Wess on flute, Johnny Griffin on tenor, and an all-British rhythm section with Martin Drew on drums, Andrew Cleyndert on bass, and Jim Mullen on guitar.

Last, but certainly not least, Terry displays his characteristic ebullience while conducting the audience singing along with “Bye Bye Blackbird" in a clip recorded by an audience member on April 19, 1998 at Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. That's Columbus native Hank Marr on piano, along with Jim Rupp (drums), Jim Masters (trombone), and Doug Richeson (bass).

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved.


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