Happy New Year!

Clark and I hope that 2011 will bring each of you much joy and prosperity. As we enter this new year, we pause to give tribute to some of Clark’s friends who have recently gone on before us – James Moody and Billy Taylor.

It was a very emotional time as I sat down with Clark to capture some of his comments about these two giants who were very close to him. I loved them, too. Below are some of the thoughts that Clark wanted to share with you:

James Moody has always been a special friend of mine, way back before the “Joe Carley Days.” Joe used to manage both of us. “Moots” and I played a lot of gigs and made a lot of records together, and we enjoyed playing together very much. We did one record with the Basie Group, not the regular Basie Band, but Basie associates. I’ll always remember that.

He was a great musician, and he was always doing something to make folks laugh.

There was a mountain near his home which he named, “Moody’s Mountain.” I remember being there with him and looking out at the beautiful landscape, and I’m thinking, “Now, he’s on the highest mountain!”

He called his sweet wife, “Honey.” I say, “Don’t worry, Honey, Moots will always be alive!”

Billy Taylor was a great friend of mine, and a master musician. I remember a record that we made back in ’57 in Chicago when Billy used all of the Ellington Band – minus Duke. It was a really nice album – “Taylor Made Jazz.” It was also the first time that I played the flugelhorn in a recording session. He really loved that sound just like I did.

He’s also the main one who got me involved in Jazz Education. I remember back in the 60’s when he was very busy with jazz clinics on college campuses. Billy came to me and said, “Clark, why don’t you come out to Cleveland with me and do a clinic.” Now, I had done a few things in some of the New York elementary and high schools while I was with The Tonight Show. Some of the cats from the show band and I went together to visit a few schools, but I had never done a solo clinic, and definitely not on a college campus. So, I said, “No, man! I don’t know anything about that.” Then Billy said, “Just come along with me and things will be smooth. The kids will ask you questions and you just be honest.” I kept saying no and he kept insisting. So, I went on out there, and when I did the first clinic I loved the kids. It was a gas! I was hooked from that first time, and I’ve never looked back.

We’ll all miss Billy and his music, but his spirit will live forever, and so will his great impact on Jazz Education.

Clark and I want to thank all of you who posted happy birthday greetings to him on the 90th Birthday Blog. I wish you could have seen the joy his face as I read the more than 300 responses. I thought he was kidding when he said he wanted to answer each one. But as you can see, he was serious.

Blessings to everyone, and take care.

Clark and Gwen

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4 Responses to Happy New Year!

  1. Michael Gold says:


    I wonder if you remember my father, arranger/composer/bandleader Marty Gold, who passed away in January? You played on a number of his albums for RCA in the 1960s, including one called Classic Bossa Nova. I had the good fortune to be in the studio for those sessions, and I still remember your amazing musical contributions vividly. Our family recently set up a website as a remembrance to my dad, which includes my recollection of you at that session. You can read that posting at

    I hope you’ll visit the site and consider adding a comment if you recall any such encounters you had with Marty.

    Michael Gold

  2. Hi Clark and Gwen! Happy 2011 to you too!! I haven’t checked for you online in quite some time so I’m happy to know that all’s well. The Nottinghams(Jimmie, Janet, and me) think of you often. For Clark’s 90th birthday, I got two new knees – I had double knee replacement surgery on December 15th (my Dad’s birthday). Daddy (Jimmy Nottingham) and Clark were in the Navy together and then performed for years together on the road and in the studios. For the two of them to be born only a day apart is something else. At any rate, I’m recuperating well but it will be a while before I’m 100%. I wish I could see you more often but I cherish my memories! Be heathy and well!!! Much love and lots of hugs and kisses!!! Love, Joanne

  3. Jyrki Ahola says:

    Mr. Clark Terry

    I want to thank you … you were the inspiration and spark,(still are…) why I started practising and playing jazz in 1982,
    when I was 14 year old trumpet player.

    When I started listening you and Miles Davis,I found out that this is my thing. It hit me just like BANG !!!
    Before that,I struggled with my classical trumpet studies and I wasn’t “home” with that stuff…
    Now I’m 43 and I’m a professional jazz player ,
    I’ve been a trumpet pro for 25 years now and when I’m blowing my horn…then I know,that I’m on the right track.

    Late congratulations for your birthday and have a very good year 2011 !

    best regards
    Jyrki Ahola,Finland.

  4. Anna Immanuel says:

    Dear Gwen and Clark, I feel as though we met through the
    many, many loving stories Arnie told about you. We did once speak
    on the phone – or rather Clark sang a Blues through the wires –
    when Arnie handed the receiver to me. He often urged me to write
    you and give you a bit of the history of the God Bless the Child
    mosaic you received, one made by Israeli and Palestinian high
    school students to honor artistry in the service of peace. Feeling
    the joyfulness of your Mumbles with Aretha brings Arnie to mind,
    and his great love for you. He spoke of you till his last day. God
    bless, may you celebrate many healthy and happy birthdays together,
    may this be a New Year of peace, joy, love – and may the music
    forever play on Anna Jerusalem