Clark Terry’s career in jazz spanned more than seventy years. He was a world-class trumpeter, flugelhornist, educator, composer, writer, trumpet/flugelhorn designer, teacher, and NEA Jazz Master. He performed for eight U.S. Presidents and was a Jazz Ambassador for State Department tours in the Middle East and Africa. More than fifty jazz festivals featured him at sea and on land in all seven continents. Many were named in his honor.
He was one of the most recorded musicians in the history of jazz, with more than nine hundred recordings. Clark’s discography reads like a “Who’s Who In Jazz,” with personnel that included greats such as Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Dinah Washington, Ben Webster, Aretha Franklin, Charlie Barnet, Doc Severinsen, Ray Charles, Billy Strayhorn, Dexter Gordon, Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan, Sarah Vaughan, Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims, Milt Jackson, Bob Brookmeyer, and Dianne Reeves.
Terry was the consummate musician, able to add a distinctive element to whatever band or jam session of which he was a part. His exuberant, swinging horn playing was an important contribution to two of the greatest big bands in jazz, Count Basie’s and Duke Ellington’s.