Sunday, February 22, 2015

Clark Terry - a salute

It takes the wind out of your sails when you go on Facebook to link a post, and you see a bunch of posts about Clark Terry passing away. I probably can't say anything that hasn't already been said, but I owe it to this great artist to say something anyway.

Clark Terry was one of those musicians who seemed to always be around. My dad had an eight-track tape of him when I was a kid. I'd see his records in stores all the time. Buck Bryce probably played him regularly on WYEP back in the day. I knew he was in the Count Basie band for awhile too. So I kind of took him for granted.

When I saw him play at the University of Pittsburgh Jazz Concert one year, within one chorus of a solo, I thought, "Yeah, now I see why he's so omnipresent. He's incredible. Talk about playing at the top of your game."

There have been several pieces I've written over the years for JazzTimes about jazz education, and Clark's name popped up a lot in them. You want to see the personification of the word "tireless," look at him. The guy was 94 years old, and even when he was confined to a wheelchair, he was still active.

Are there any people left that can measure up like that?

Bless you, Clark Terry. RIP.

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