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,