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. Steve Clarke says:

    Happy Birthday Terry.
    It was great to meet you and play together back in early 80’s. Still remember your joyful spirit.
    My daughter (11) has her birthday as well on Dec 14th. Enjoy and be Blessed.
    Bassist/composer Steve Clarke … Bpt CT

  2. Roger Hintzsche says:

    Dear Clark,

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Your wit, wisdom, stage presence, and awesome chops have inspired me for years! A quick HI from Ron Modell too, whom I have gigged with for 25 years around the northern IL area.
    Keep those birthdays coming!
    OK… I’m going back to the corner and looking for… SHA-BIB-A-LOAMS! (My boys and I have that as an inside joke, thank YOU very much!)

  3. Malkin Maksim says:

    Mr. Terry!
    Let me include my greetings to the choir, and to thank you for your music and humour – the first and the perfect impression got from LP with “Incoherent blues” sirvived the century. Appreciation and all blessings seasonal and personal to you and family.
    Be well and much better.

    • Clark says:

      Deat Malkin,

      Thank you for your good wishes.

      I hope you and your family have great blessings, too.


      P.S. Jjmps qtyvc! 🙂

  4. Tom Range says:

    I hosted a late night jazz show in Lincoln, NE in the late 70’s. Always the great teacher and so willing to share his knowledge with young players, Clark and alto sax player Chris Woods graciously came to the studio to promote their appearance with the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra (then the Neoclassic Jazz Orchestra). Many laughs, with Clark telling numerous stories and commenting on the various bands and players. It will always be one of my highlights! All the best to you Clark, and may you have a glorious 90th! Tom

    • Clark says:

      Dear Tom,

      Thanks for all of your efforts to help keep jazz alive through the medium of your show.

      Be sure to check out my autobiography when it comes out this spring, some more of my stories are in there.

      I appreciate your happy birthday wish.


  5. Dave Bowen says:

    Dear Clark

    When you came to London in the 60s to play with Sir John Dankworth’s Orchestra and performed for BBC’s Jazz 625 with a quintet with your partner Bob Brookmeyer, I was present with a friend in the audience and I
    went home thinking that was the greatest jazz performance I had ever heard live: just scintillating inter-play between you and Bob.

    But you’ve given us a life-time of wonderful music from the days with Duke onwards and “Mumbles” still cracks me up. Thank you for your musicianship, for your humour and for spreading good feelings wherever you go.

    Have a very Happy Birthday!

    • Clark says:

      Dear Dave,

      I vividly remember that 625 date with much love.

      I’m sure that you miss John as much as I do. Bob is still well and playing, and we keep in touch regularly. A dear friend and a great person.

      Thanks for the compliments and the birthday wish.


  6. Clark,

    We were privileged to be on a couple of cruises on the Norway where you were featured. Bill is a December baby but seven years younger (or less old). Sitting on our piano since 2001 is a postcard written by you. We had sent wish a get well when you were ill. You signed off the card with “keep on keepin’ on.”
    We wish that back to you as you approach the big 90.

    Nina and Bill

    • Clark says:

      Dear Bill and Nina,

      Glad to hear from you, again.

      Hope you both are well and I hope Bill has a happy birthday, too!

      Stay well and happy for years to come.


  7. Hi Clark,
    Have a great Special day!
    Just been listening to Daylight Express- fantastic music. My sincere thanks for the joy you have given me over the years.
    All the best
    Peter Rollason

    • Clark says:

      Dear Peter,

      Glad you like “Daylight Express,” and happy to receive your great birthday wish.

      Hope all is well with you and your family.

      Peace and love,


  8. Mike Mannecke says:

    Mr Terry,

    I so enjoy listening to your music and remembering the time you came to play with us in Missouri at our Jazz Festival. My wife and I have a great picture of the 3 of us and I’ll always remember the “mumbles” tune! I wish you the best of health and God’s blessings. By the way, what are you doing up at 1:17am replying to post?? 🙂

    Thanks for all the great memories, I hope to see you again some day!


    • Clark says:

      Dear Mike,

      Thanks for your well wishes.

      All my clocks are backwards, being a jazz musician. I sleep days and I’m up at night. And after midnight, it gets quiet enough for me to think about answering letters. I get a big kick out of it.

      It would be nice to see the picture of the three of us posted on this blog.

      God bless,


  9. Happy birthday, Clark!
    Hope you have a wonderful day, and many happy returns. I can’t thank you enough for all the joy and inspiration you’ve given me throughout the years. You are one of the few people of my time that I think of as a true hero. I’m proud to say that I’ve played with you a couple times, and I’ll carry those joyous experiences with me always.
    with much love,
    Jon-Erik Kellso

    • Clark says:

      Dear Jon-Erik,

      Your birthday wish and compliments were greatly appreciated. It’s nice for an “old poot” to be encouraged.

      More power to you!

      With love,


  10. Susie Jones says:

    Happy Birthday Clark. I’m a saxophonist, but you are one of my favorite players of all time. Can’t wait to read the book

    • Clark says:

      Dear Susie,

      Your birthday wish and comments were beautiful. Thank you.

      I hope you enjoy my book. Check it out and let me know what you think of it.

      The advance copies will be ready this spring. As soon as we find out about the date, we’ll
      put the info on my website. Thanks for the positive anticipation.



  11. Steve Robertson says:

    G’day Clark, from Australia,
    Hope you have a wonderful birthday. I must have 50 of your CDs and LPs at my home at Bolwarra, in the far west of Victoria. I’ve always regarded you and Bobby Hackett, Art Farmer and Warren Vache as right up there at the top of the list as far as the trumpet/fluegel is concerned. For that reason, I will be devoting most of my Dec 12th ballads radio show to your slower tunes (and bossas), with your more up-tempo works over the decades completely dominating my show (The Swinging Years) on Thursday afternoon, Dec 16. The radio shows are on 3RPC-FM in Portland, Vic.
    Have a great celebration and say hi to Dave Glasser for me when next you see him.
    Steve Robertson
    Jazz radio presenter
    Bolwarra, Australia

    • Clark says:

      G’day to you, too!

      Thanks for the time that you’re you’re planning to give me in honor of my birthday.

      I’d love to haar your radio show. Can you send me a link? (And some Tim Tams, too.) Love those cookies!!!

      Next time you enjoy a Tim Tam, think about me.

      God bless you,


  12. Jim Milan says:


    I am not someone you know; I’m just a club-type trumpet player, of your age, who has admired/dug your playing ever since your Basie and Ellington days. I am so pleased to hear that your are doing so well. Happy birthday, continued good health and God bless you.

    Jim Milan

    • Clark says:

      Dear Jim,

      Thanks for the good old wishes from one old-timer to another!

      I still listen to the music that I made with Basie and Duke every day on my IPod.

      Thanks for hanging on in there, and I hope that you keep playing for a long time.

      All the best,


  13. Hi Clark.

    I am a DJ on KLOI-fm and will certainly your 90th, along with Brubeck and others near the big 9-0. My wife Karen and I know a childhood friend of yours, Cuesta Benberry, the quilter. Karen has been closely aligned with her memorials. We look forward to your memoirs. I’ve always enjoyed the humor in your playing, as well as the virtuosity. Whoever thought that Augmented Fifths could be so much fun?

    — Gary Alexander
    Lopez Island, Washington

    • Clark says:

      Dear Gary,

      Love your statement about the fifths! It made me chuckle.

      I wish Dave a happy 90th, and thanks for your good wishes for mine.

      Thanks for the mentions of Cuesta.

      I’m looking forward to catching your show one day.

      Maybe you could send me a link.

      All the best to you and Karen,


    • Thanks for responding to so many letters. My radio show link is at, for live streaming audio on Fridays and Mondays at 3:00 to 5:30 pm Pacific time. I’ll probably feature your music Monday, Dec. 13. This Monday is Brubeck + the 80th birthday of guitarist Jim Hall and centennial of Louis Prima, plus more Strayhorn music after his birthdya. Best wishes,


    • Clark says:

      Dear Gary,

      Thanks for the link. I enjoyed listening, and I appreciate your playing my music.

      God bless,


    • This Friday, I’ll play a double-anniversary — your birthday plus your solo’s live at the Village Vanguard with Gerry Mulligan’s Concert Big Band, recorded December 11, 1960, 50 years ago. You solo on 5 of 6 cuts, and I’llplay them all, from 3-4 pm Pacific time at I know you’re probably getting overwhelmed with greetings this week, but maybe some of your blog fans will want to listen in. Thanks, Gary

  14. Clark, Happy Birthday to you this year, and for many more years! I am just one of millions of your fans. I have heard you in person with Brookmeyer at Shelly’s ManneHole in 1965, at the London House in the 70’s, at various jazz festival concerts, and one wonderful night at the Village Vanguard, when Bill Cosby came sneaking in with his slouch hat and a tray of goodies to welcome you back after an illness. You both knocked me out! You are the heart and soul of Jazz to me. Will Thompson, Ventura, California

    • Clark says:

      Dear Will,

      Thanks for the compliments. You really know how to make “an old poot” feel good.

      Glad to know that you enjoyed my performance. I love doing things with Bill Cosby. We just did a thing here at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff – a show with kids and adults. It was his new application show, “OBKB,” that will be on the internet soon. Hope you get a chance to see it. We’re going to post a news article about it on my website in the next few days.

      Take care, and thanks for my birthday greeting!


  15. Dunc Springstead says:

    Mr. Terry, I speak formally only from respect. You’ll always be “Clark” ! I don’t pretend to be great at platitudes (stupid word but gets the point across), but when I was a young lad in the 1950’s I had been introduced to Jazz by my brother. He was a wise old person, five years older than I. If you will no doubt recall this was an era of rock & roll and something I didn’t really care for. I played the game, to keep my comtemporaries satisfied as far as R&R was concerned, but having been raised by a music teacher with a degree in Music Ed from Ithaca College I was seriously exposed to classical musical. (A white boy from up-state New York wasn’t supposed to be a fan.) Your exposure was via the “Tonight Show”. The inner action you had with Johnny Carson was most enjoyable. A next door neighbor, in her sixties at the time, and I would wait for an interaction between you and Johnny.
    As has been said by too many individuals, “Life is Short”! We will feel better by expressing our feelings about the past or present. I “Do not” choose to think about the present without you. Thanks for being you!!!!!!
    A fan and friend of yours!
    Incidentally, I’am a regular of Marion MacPartland’s Friday night Program

    • Clark says:

      Dear Dunc,

      Your healthy letter was very, very greatly appreciated. Made me smile a lot.

      I love Marion MacPartland’s programs, too. I have a lot of fond memories of Marion.

      Glad to know that your brother introduced you to jazz during a rock-and-roll time, and that it stuck with you.

      Keep on keepin’ on,


  16. Bob Banker says:

    Happy Birthday, Clark!!
    I have fond memories of you playing and “singing” on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. I love your spirit and your music!
    Besides the next one – how many more birthdays do you want?

    • Clark says:

      Dear Bob,

      100 more birthdays will do!

      Thanks for the smiles.

      So many frown-producing things happen daily, until it’s always a Godsend when something makes us smile!

      God bless,


  17. Clark and Gwen, You are a special couple. You never quit!! That’s a big life lesson for me. I miss you both. I was on the road when you came to Kansas City. Just wanted you to know Michael and I love you both. Have PFUN!! (Gwen, you’re the bomb baby!)

    • Clark says:

      Dear Deborah,

      So glad to hear from you. Sorry you were on the road when we were there at the American Jazz Museum. I love the Charlie Parker Award they gave me.

      Hope you and Michael are doing well. It would be great to see you both again.

      Let me know where you are from time to time.


      Hi Deborah,

      Thanks for the props. You’re the bomb, too!

      Come on down when you get a chance.

      We’ll probably do a book-signing there for Clark’s autobiography next year, and we hope to see you then.

      Much love, Gwen

  18. Dear Clark: You were always my favorite and my late wife Sue’s favorite musician and gentleman. I don’t know if you remember the pig-in-the-living-room incident? We did have some great times over the years . . . in Phoenix, on the beach in Mexico, on the yacht on the Riviera, Paris . . . my oh my what memories. I even miss the arguments between you and Bobby Rosengarden over smoking the cigar in the car. Great times. I just wish that dear Sue was here to join me in wishing you all the best on your birthday. You have brought such class to this old world of ours. God bless you.
    Don Z. Miller

    • Clark says:

      Dear Don,

      Great to hear from you! Yes, I remember all those beautiful days, and the pig-in-the-living-room incident, too.

      I’m sure that Sue is looking down on us with a smile! We all made some great memories together.

      It would be nice to chat with you one day soon.

      God bless, and give the best to your family,


  19. Robb Stout says:

    Oh my, Mr. Clark Terry. What an inspiration and gift to us all you are. Where to begin? Well, with my dad, the first trumpet player I heard in my life. I would try to sneak down from my bedroom to catch him watching the Tonight Show, specifically for his friend and early band mate, Jack Sperling. I happened to sneak up behind his chair one night when you played a stunning solo. He suspected, like most dads do, that I had been “hiding out”, called me on it & let me watch the show “because Clark’s a REAL musician who loves what he’s doing.” He then proceded to turn off the tube, fired up the stereo pulled out “Ellington Uptown” & “Festival Session” & played both versions of “Perdido”, woke up my ma & basically started a dance party right then.
    Imagine my thrill about 16 years later when you came to Trenton State College in NJ and played (in our residence hall lounge!) with a rhythm section of Larry Ridley, Kenny Barron & Roy Haynes. MAN, what a night! You were just the friendliest, funniest raconteur & spent the time post performance just shootin the breeze with us all. I already had a couple of your albums then, many more by now, never a disappointment. You are simply THE BEST! Don’t put down that horn. From my family to you, we love you, madly!!

    • Clark says:

      Dear Robb,

      What a nice letter! I appreciate it very much.

      It’s nice to be my age and still hear some complimentary things.

      Sounds like a beautiful relationship with you, your dad and mom.

      Tell your dad that I said, “I’m going to keep on doin’ it until I get it right!”


  20. John Hoag says:

    Dear Clark. Wow, 90 Big Ones! That, in itself, is inspiration to us all. You don’t know me from Adam, but I promise you there are many, many of us out here who have relished and admired your music over a lot of years, and we all want to wish you the grandest of Birthdays, and many more. Much love from Dripping Springs, Texas, John Hoag

    • Clark says:

      Dear John,

      I say jokingly, “I’m getting older, uglier and poorer,” but I like what you said better.

      Thank you for your great birthday greeting. All the best to you, your family and all the folks at Dripping Springs.