Tribute to Bob Brookmeyer

Clark was very, very saddened when he heard that Bob had passed away. After he gained his composure, he said, “We had a very special friendship. We knew that we loved each other.”

He wasn’t able to say much more. So, I’ll refer to his autobiography where he wrote several passages about Bob. Here’s an excerpt that begins on page 177: “Bob Brookmeyer and I had a ‘mutual admiration society,’ loved playing together, so much so that we got a little group together in the early ‘60’s. We named it the Clark Terry/Bob Brookmeyer Quintet and got a nice gig going at the Half Note – Eddie Costa on piano, Osie Johnson on drums, and Joe Benjamin on bass. It was one of the best groups ever.

The harmony that Bob and I had was super. I was digging the valve trombone that Bob played because that was the first instrument I was given in high school, but the way its sound married with my flugelhorn sound was something special. We could feel each other’s next moves and enjoyed the way we managed to play simultaneously throughout the changes. We called it ‘noodling.’ Usually one player wants to outshine the other, but we had a way of blending together that allowed both of us to shine. We really tried to make each other sound beautiful.”

Clark told a funny story in his book about how Bob helped him to overcome an ulcer. He talked about many other things, including their recordings and the awards they won. There’s also a mention of a clip where Clark and Bob are playing together on a British television show, Jazz 625, in February of 1965. Click here to see the clip.

When Bob was conducting the Big Band of the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival in Germany in 1995, he introduced his special guest by saying, “My dear friend, a fantastic musician, a wonderful man, and everything that you could want for a partner – Clark Terry.” You can see a clip of this performance by clicking here.

Rest in peace, dear Bob. Your music will be celebrated forever.

Let us all pray for Bob’s family, especially for his wife, Jan.

Blessings and love,

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9 Responses to Tribute to Bob Brookmeyer

  1. Dave Rutman says:

    Clark, I’m a fan from Pennsylvania who you’ve never met. But, I’ve been a big fan of yours since high school in the early 70s. Got your book as a Christmas gift a few months ago and am REALLY enjoying the read. Buck up buddy and get well.

  2. Clark: I cannot begin to express my sadness at Bob Brookmeyer’s passing. It was my honor to work with him a number of times during my tenure at UMKC. Mentor, inspiration and friend – just liike I feel about you. I have two of the CT/BB Quintet albums on vinyl – will be doing a tribute concert here in the spring and some of that music will be heard. Best wishes to you and Gwen for a joyous new year. Play on, CT, play on! Peace, Mike

  3. Anders Ellman says:

    The world of jazz mourns Bob Brookmeyer. On of the greatest jazz men ever has passed away…

  4. Fabian Acuna says:

    I’m sorry to hear such a good friend pass away. Bob Brookmeyer certainly was one of my favourite trombone players and his melodic phrasing was simply amazing. I have learnt so much from listening to him and you, Clark, togther. You two are definitely my favourite duo. All my love goes out to you Clark Terry and to you also Gwen. Rest in Peace Bob Brookmeyer.

    God Bless,
    Fabian Acuna

  5. Tom Smith says:

    Clark, sending our love your way, thinking of you always, the world is a better place because of the music you and Bob put out for the world hear.
    Tom, Debra, Laura, Allison, & David Smith

  6. I was so sorry to hear about Bob Brookmeyer’s passing. He was and is a musical giant! Clark, I love every note that you and Bob recorded. Like you, his playing is timeless and always inventive. My condolences on the loss of your friend and musical partner.

  7. John Healy says:

    I know it must be rough on you hearing the loss of your great friend Bob Brookmeyer since it is your birthday it is more ironic. I am sure in Bob’s witty humor he wants you to have a Happy Birthday as possible on a situation like. God Bless Mr. Terry.

  8. Valerie Bishop says:

    i’m sad about Bob’s passing and also that Clark has to endure the sadness of his personal loss during his recovery. and such is life.
    hugs and love to both of you.

  9. adriene says:

    rip bob