Dec 14 – Clark’s 90th Birthday!

Clark and I wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving! Things are going well here in Arkansas, and the countdown to Clark’s 90th birthday has begun – only 18 more days and counting. Wow! When I asked him what he would like for his birthday, he said, “More birthdays.” He’s still got that great sense of humor. He also said that one of his wishes has already come true – he wanted his autobiography to be published.

Well, I’m happy to say that we’ve got a wonderful publisher, The University of California Press, and the advance copies will be ready this coming spring. We’ll keep you informed about that, but for now, let’s all get ready to celebrate Clark’s birthday.

For all birthday messages, just post your responses, pics, audio track links, etc., in the comments section of this blog. For posting birthday videos for Clark, please put them on YouTube and then put the link in the comments section here. We’ll take it from there.

Clark gets the biggest kick out of hearing things read to him and seeing all of the “new fangled” technology on the internet. I told him that some of his friends want to come here to celebrate his birthday with him, and he smiled a really big smile. So, we’re going to have a big birthday cake with 90 candles, and few people here to jam a little, eat some good food, and share some fond memories. He’s doing pretty well, still practicing his horn, and he still says, “The Golden Years suck!” But he says that he’s glad to “have some years.” Be sure to post your comments as soon as possible because the clock is ticking down to December 14th.

Take care, and many blessings, Gwen.

| Birthday Wishes, Dec 14 - Clark's 90th Birthday | 315 Comments

315 Responses to Dec 14 – Clark’s 90th Birthday!

  1. Terry says:


    Happy Birthday to you and God’s blessings in the future! You have brought me much happiness and joy listening to your many recordings over the past 5+ decades!! I still OVE those recordings you did for Mainstream Records with Bob Brookmeyer – fabulous!!

    TERRY – a longtime fan!

    • Clark says:

      Dear Terry,

      Glad my music has brought you joy. Glad you enjoyed the records with Bob and me.

      They’re among my favorites, too.

      Your birthday greeting was great. Thank you!

      Stay well,


  2. Earl Artis says:

    Happy Birthday, Mr. Terry!

    For years, I’ve listened to your music because it always makes me smile: the big, round tone, the thoughtful solos and the sheer joy of listening to your live performances.

    I consider you one of the last complete entertainers: a fabulous musician who can sing and swing, and the most entertaining “scat man” alive!

    I can’t wait to read your biography. You remind me that good music can be great fun.

    Thanks you for years of great music. It’s nice to hear jazz that still makes you want to “pat your foot”. Please recommend any of recordings your consider especially memorable. Every performance I’ve ever heard has been great.

    Take care.

    • Clark says:

      Dear Earl,

      Your compliments brought a smile to my face. Thanks for those kind words and the birthday greeting.

      I can’t pick any one particular recording that I consider especially memorable, but check out the sides on my website.

      Hope you find somethiing that you like. My book will be out soon, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

      Best wishes,


  3. Terry C. Anderson says:

    Happy Birthday, Clark! Forty-some years ago you were a chief clinician at a band festival in Madsion, SD. I was a kid band member and you were a wonderful instructor and inspiration. I still have my autographed concert program and I am still playing the trumpet and flugelhorn. Thanks for being such a great influence . Happy 90th and many many more.

    Terry C. Anderson
    Sun Prairie, WI

    • Clark says:

      Dear Terry,

      Glad to know you’re still playing your horns.

      Hope your chops are in good shape.

      Thanks for the birthday wish!


  4. John Kool says:

    Happy Mr. Terry!

    You have been a wonderful inspiration. Love your advice to play all styles of music. “If you don’t, it is like sewing your pockets shut so you can’t put any money in that pocket and you will have to ask your parents for money.”

    Seeing it is your birthday, I will have to call your friend from Great Lakes Naval Station, Mason Prince of Omaha. Haven’t seen him in quite a while.

    • Clark says:

      Dear John,

      Thanks for your greetings. I appreciate them.

      Mason sent me a big box of steaks and ground steaks for which I’m very grateful.

      I have one bit of advice, “Stay cool!”


  5. I Love you Clark Terry and wish you health happiness and good times….. I am a huge fan HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!!!! <3

    • Clark says:

      Dear Rachael,

      Thanks for your birthday wishes, and although it’s not your birthday, the same good wishes to you!

      All the best,


  6. Jim Ketch says:

    Dear Clark,

    You have been an inspiration to me since 1970 when you appeared at my university with our jazz band. Years later I had the pleasure of hosting you at my school the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for a week. Your spirit is THE spirit of our music and I thank you for your lifetime of sharing your gifts so graciously. Your encouragement was certainly meaningful to me. God Bless and Happy 90th birthday.

    • Clark says:

      Dear Jim,

      Glad to hear that you enjoyed my being at your school.

      Your birthday is really appreciated.

      Keep up the good work and straight ahead!


  7. Wade says:

    I was invited by Riverwalk Jazz to leave a message via a link to this web/blog site. I would just like to take the time to say
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you on my behalf, and also that of the Appleton High School East Jazz Band, which you were apart of for
    sometime. Mr. Tom Jacobs was our instructor, and as a member of the jazz band (bass trombone) in 1978-79, I had a lot
    of fun getting to play at such an early age with a legend. I hope this finds you in good health, and you keep humming those
    notes!!! Take care Mr. Terry!!!

    • Clark says:

      Dear Wade,

      It was great to hear from you. Please give my regards tothe people at Riverwalk Jazz, Tom Jacobs and the Appleton High School East Jazz Band.

      I’m doing well, thank you, and apparently you are, too.

      God bless you, your family, Riverwalk Jazz, Tom and all of the band members.


  8. Flip Oakes says:

    Happy Birthday Clark! I have always enjoyed your playing, and humor, and I you have been a big influence to me in my life as a player, and I want to say thank you, and many more happy years!

    God Bless,

    Flip Oakes

    • Clark says:

      Dear Flip,

      Thanks for the birthday wish and the compliments.

      I’m happy to know that I was able to help you.

      One of my greatest passions is encouraging others.

      Keep up the good work!


  9. Dear Clark,

    Best wishes on your 90th – I’m a December baby too, although seven years behind you. My wife Nina aand I had the privilege of hearing you on the Norway jazz cruises. When you were ill in 2001 we sent get well wishes and you responded with a post card that sits on our piano to this day. It closed with ” keep on keepin’on. ” That’s what we now wish you.


    • Clark says:

      Dear Bill,

      Thanks for the greeting for my birthday, and for the get well wish from you and your wife in 2001.

      Your prayers have been answered because I’m still here.

      God bless you both!


  10. Happy Birthday, Mr. Terry!

    We met at the Hill Country Jazz Festival in San Marcos in the mid-90s and it was an honor to hear you play live. After, you were so gracious to take a picture with as many people as wanted one and here’s the one I took with you and my trumpet/jazz instructor, Keith Winking.

    Take care and I hope to hear you play live and meet you again sometime!
    Cathy Benford
    Pflugerville, TX

    • Clark says:

      Dear Cathy,

      Thanks for the greeting and the picture. I enjoyed them very much.

      Hope life has been good to you and will continue to be. And… hope to see you again, too.


  11. John Gilbert says:

    Happy Birthday from an old Earl Coleman drummer

  12. John Gilbert says:

    Happy birthday from an old Earl Coleman, Danny Knight, Tadd Dameron drummer

    • Clark says:

      Dear John,

      Thank you for your greeting to this “old fart.”

      Hope you’re drumming up a swinging life.

      Stay well and keep on keepin’ on!


  13. jean germain says:

    dear wonderful clark……so delighted to wish you a very very happy birthday….may you continue in good health and your contribution to keeping jazz alive…….

    last year i sent a copy of my book…JAZZ FROM ROW SIX… you when you wer =at the university in new hampshire……photos in the book show you playing at the sarasota jazz festival. in 1993….your reunion with snooky young .and others
    you are greatest and i was honored to have had the opportunity to meet you, and hear your wonderful sounds

    stay well…..hope you enjoy my book…
    my very best
    jean germain

    • Clark says:

      Dear Jean,

      Thanks again for your incredible book. Great photos! Loved it!

      Hope to send you a copy of my autobiography next year.

      Your birthday greeting really warmed my heart.

      Hope you’ve been well, and are continuing to feel beautiful.

      Keep up the great work.


  14. Veronica A. Garnett says:

    Happy Birthday CT. My dad used to relax listening to your recordings down in the basement. I was allowed to join him in his sanctuary & developed a life long love of jazz and horn players. (smile) Here’s to the next decade with you blessing us with your knowledge and talent. Warm regards, Vee

    • Clark says:

      Dear Vee,

      It must have been a great pleasure to share your dad’s sanctuary and his jazz, and I’m glad that it had a positive impact on you.

      Your birthday wish was greatly appreciated, and I hope you have a wonderful life.


  15. Clark!

    Happy Birthday!!! I love you so much. You have been both a mentor/inspiration to me. You were the fist person to took me abroad. I still remember all those great stories you and Oscar Peterson were telling me on the QE2. After spending that time with you, I knew that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Throughout the years you have been a constant support system and have given me so much. I hope that I can one day I can touch someone like that. I think the most important thing that I learned from you that is what ever you do, you have to do it with love. And be care not to get 2 hip cause you know what you got when you have 2 hips… 🙂 Mom & Dad send their love. Talk to you soon! Happy Birthday and many many more!!


    Maurice Brown

    • Clark says:

      Dear Maurice,

      Your birthday greeting was as beautiful as you are. Hope you continue to play better and better and learn more and more.

      All the best to you and the family, and God bless you. Looking forward to hearing you again.


  16. Sabine says:

    Hi Clark
    I wish you a happy birthday from Germany. Do you remember the tune from Al Grey “I’m hungry Sabrina” thats me.
    I’m thinking the time we met us in The Hague, to the North Sea Jazz Festival.
    Have a wonderful Birthday celebration and kepp swinging, best regards, Sabine

  17. Hi Clark, here is a sincere happy birthday wish from the bottom of my heart. You have been my good friend since the late 1960’s and I have valued your friendship tremendously. It has been wonderful to play on several of your bands (starting with the Big Bad Band European tour in 1979) and an absolute thrill to be involved with your jazz camps, clinics and concerts. It has been phenomenal to spend time with you just “hangin’ out” over the years and I can think of no better mentor than you have been to me. I contribute my growth as a musician and as a jazz educator to your influence and friendship and you have supported me in my musical endeavors without fail. In short, please know that I love you very much and am quite honoured to be your friend and compatriot. As you have often said to me I now say to you “Keep On Keepin’ On”. You are truly loved and admired by literally thousands of musicians, music students and audiences throughout the world. What a wonderful life you have lead and legacy you leave for the entire world to enjoy – you are an amazing human being. I look forward to being with you in Pine Bluff to celebrate your 90th birthday. Love, Bob Montgomery

    • Clark says:

      Dear Bob,

      Thanks for swelling my head with that beautiful message. Looking forward to continuing our relationship in jazz.

      All the best to you and yours, and God bless you all.


  18. Rich Pulin says:

    I’ll see you & Gwen on the 14th…..looking forward to it!

    Rich Pulin, LA
    Member of your original 1967 ‘Half Note’ Big Band

  19. Yvonne says:

    All the very best wishes for your upcoming special day!!!

    Another candle on your cake?
    Well, that’s no cause to pout.
    Be glad that you have strength enough
    To blow the damn thing out.

    Keep a sense of humor and making beautiful music – it makes life grand!!!!

  20. Clark,

    Happy happy happy birthday !!! You have been such a blessing and inspiration to not only me but the entire Music community. Its been my pleasure listening 2 you , playing for you, and listening 2 all your funny stories. You gave me my first big gig and in my eyes that’s what helped shape me into the saxophonist I am today. love you and miss you

    Many more Birthdays 2 you,

    Lakecia B

    • Clark says:

      Dear Lakecia,

      Thank you for your message. Love you! Keep on being a great saxophone player. Looking forward to getting the band together after a few more weeks.