Celebrating and Happy!

My 92nd birthday is on the 14th of December! You’d better believe that I’m thanking Big Prez (Clark’s nickname for God) for that blessing, and I’m praying to enjoy all of the “goodies” that are in store for me.

Talking about being grateful. Man. I appreciate all the love from everybody who inspired me to “Keep On Keepin’ On!” And you know what? When you get to be an old fart like me, that’s the most important thing.  Love. Pure and simple. That’s what keeps me going.

To me, there are lots of different types of love. Big Prez is love. Jazz is love. Phone calls, family, cards, letters. My students and friends and fans. The list is long. And it’s something that I definitely don’t take for granted.

The surprises that are in the works for me, that’s love. Now, I don’t know which ones, but a “little birdie” told me that some of my students are coming here to play for me on my birthday. I can’t wait! When I hear how they have progressed, it just fills me to the brim. Totally.

Quincy Jones was my first student, back in the late ‘40’s, and look at him now. Man! I’m so proud of him. He just signed one of my students for a world tour – Justin Kauflin. Now, that’s what I’m talking about! Helping young musicians up the ladder. Believe me, mentoring is what we all need to concentrate on.  (See Justin play piano in a trailer of the upcoming documentary “Keep On Keepin’ On.”)

This is a picture of me hanging out with the cats. That’s Ethan (Heyenga) on sax, and Josh (Shpak) on trumpet. They’re some very talented young musicians who flew down from Berklee to study with me. And on piano, that’s my good friend, Alan (Matheson). A great musician. Plays a mean cornet, too! He came down from Canada to shoot the breeze with us. They jammed up a storm!

Clark, Ethan Heyenga, Josh Shpak, and Alan Matheson

L-R: Me, Ethan Heyenga, Josh Shpak, and Alan Matheson
Photo Credit: Gwen Terry

Teaching young cats is the way to go. When I think about some of my good friends – Billy Taylor, James Moody, Jimmy Heath and Frank Wess – and other cats like me who were on the jazz education scene from waaaay back, and then I hear some of these young lions out here perpetuating our music, it’s a good feeling. A really good feeling.

Cats like Dave Brubeck who started schools and things like that, they gave a lot of love, you know. A lot of love for a lot of students. Man, I miss Dave. He would have been 92 on the 6th. He was a real cool cat. Nice cat. Excellent musician, and I always enjoyed being around him. I liked the way that he took his music away from the norm. Made you think about it, appreciate it, and love it. “Take Five” was one of my favorite tunes of his. I can hear it now…

And that blurb he wrote, on the second page of my book, I really appreciated it:

Clark and I have been friends for many decades, and I’ve always enjoyed his music. Recently, on a long, three-hundred-mile drive to our gig, we listened to Clark’s wonderful Porgy and Bess album. This was the second or third time that we’d done that. It sure was some great playing on your part, Clark! We enjoyed those Chicago Jazz Orchestra brass players, too. Congratulations on your book!”

Please click here for more on Dave.

So, as far as I’m concerned, Dave is right here with me, celebrating my birthday and his, along with a whole slew of our friends who are up there with Big Prez. And to all of my beautiful friends here who sent me cards, folks who called me and wrote letters, I want to thank you. All of your prayers, I can’t tell you how much it all means.

When my good friend Mickarl Thomas showed up here from Flint for a surprise birthday visit, man, I loved it! He brought his wife, Ann, with him. Beautiful people. Now, he’s a preacher, but when I tell you that he can tell some great jokes, you’d better believe it! He had me laughing hard. I love a good joke. He and his wife love to help the young folks at their church.

Mickarl Thomas, his wife, Ann, and mePhoto Credit: Gwen Terry

Mickarl Thomas, his wife, Ann, and me
Photo Credit: Gwen Terry

You know, it doesn’t matter what business our young people want to get into, they all need guidance. My neighbor, Monte (Coleman), was just named “Coach of the Year,” and his football team just won the SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference) Championship! He’s working with those Golden Lions at UAPB (University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff). And his quarterback, Ben Anderson, surprised me with a birthday visit. This young man threw a 95-yard touchdown pass! He’s a real nice kid with a bright future ahead. He said that he plays the sax, and his father is a big jazz fan. You can read more about Ben and the championship game here.

That’s Ben Anderson (holding my book) and mePhoto Credit: Gwen Terry

That’s Ben Anderson (holding my book) and me
Photo Credit: Gwen Terry

I wonder what other birthday surprises are down the pike? I’ve been thinking about my birthday cake, and what it’s gonna look like. Now, I know that I’m diabetic, but I told Gwen that I just want to taste a small piece. If they put 92 candles on my cake, I guess I’ll have to do some circular-breathing to blow them out!  I’ll be thinking about you, sending my love to each and every one of you. And for my wish, I’m hoping that you’ll keep helping our young folks to make their dreams come true!

Celebrating and happy,

(He is enjoying your comments below and in his Guestbook so, so much! God bless you all. Love, Gwen)

| Birthday Wishes, happenings | 28 Comments

28 Responses to Celebrating and Happy!

  1. John Halford says:

    Dear Clark,
    I just wanted to send a big humble hearty ‘thank you’ from an english man in Rome, Italy. I was first introduced to your music through my dad (a trombonist) who adored your playing with Bob Brookmeyer in particular. A few years later I got hired as a drummer in a quintet where we covered some of those fantastic pieces like ‘Hum’ and ‘Green Stamps.’ What a privilege and a joy it was during this time (late 1990’s) to see you play when you visited our city, Birmingham, for a short residency at Ronnie Scotts; what a gig!
    After the sudden loss of my father to cancer a few years ago it was difficult to listen to any jazz music at all, but recently I’ve been playing those records again and reconnecting with the life-force that jazz is.
    Your playing encouraged me to try some brass and these days I’m playing a cornet & trying to get the little kids that I teach here in Rome to do some ‘mumbles of their own!

    I’ll be raising a glass to your 93rd on December 14th – what do they put in that St. Louis water?!

    Love to you & yours,

  2. George Caton says:

    I distinctly remember the first time my father put on The Happy Horns of Clark Terry for me to listen to. I was 8 or 9 years old. What a huge impact it had on me. I’ve been a huge fan ever since. I’ve been a band director and a music educator for 27 years. I have played your recordings for students for years. Back in the ’90’s we took some students over to Champaign, Illinois to hear you and met you backstage. Thank you for all the things you have done. I hope you’re doing well.

  3. David Deutsch says:

    Dear Clark, my name is David Deutsch. My wife Camille and I lived across the street from you when we both lived in Bayside during the early eighties. Perhaps I might jog your memory by mentioning the crazy guy Kenny who lived next door to you. Once when Ursula was home alone she ran over to our house because crazy Kenny was staring at her and she panicked. We kept her with us until you got home.

    I’m writing to say hello again after all these years. My son Benjamin is 36 years old now living in Manhattan and my daughter, Jaclyn 32 is married for five years and given Camille and I two Beautiful grandchildren.

    If ever you come to NY again please call Camille & me! I would finally be able to get your autograph. 🙂 Really though if you would call, Camille and I would be overly excited to see you and possibly have dinner with you and your wife Gwen. My No. is….908-754-7482. Until then, take care of yourself. I look forward to hearing from you.

  4. Hi sweet Clark,
    This is Andrea Dupree from Charleston, SC.
    I hope you remember me. We did the Spoleto
    Festival in Charleston, SC. Bill Moore put it together.
    My phone number is: 843.513.2252
    Hope all is well with you and that you are feeling better!
    Andrea Dupree

  5. Laura Lovera says:

    Mr. Terry,
    We are so lucky to have you and I keep you in my prayers so that you keep feeling better and better every day. I wrote to you before wishing you good health and to get well soon, also to Thank you for sharing your story, loved your book!thank you for sharing your talent with so many, specially the younsters that have the blessing to be learning from a master like you, I told you about my son Walter, he got me your your book and talked about you with profound respect and admiration, you have been his inspiration, my son loves music, he goes to MSU to study Jazz Studies, well, he just told me that he is on his way to see you,(his wonderful friemd and professor, Etienne Charles made this possible) WOW!! never in my wildest dreams I thought this could happen, my heart is filled with joy!I believe in miracles Mr. terry, thanks so much for this fantastic opportunity, and for your kindness, God Bless You!!

  6. William Revere, II says:

    …been playing my ax (trumpet) for 42 years. People ask me who was my favorite and who influence my style. The first comment out the gate from them is Miles Davis or some others like Dizzy, etc. When I say no, then they name a few others and I say wrong again. Who is there response? I say Clark Terry and they say who? I say the best soloist improve that’s who. Go listen and you will see what I mean. LOL

    Though I am a degreed professional Mechanical Engineer I was on a full 4 year music scholarship (1st chair Jazz, Marching, and concert bands high school and college). My ax was my best friend in college. Kept my head straight and balance for the rigor of Engineering. Even today she stays by my side as I play in the community and Church orchestra. You were and are still my favorite Trumpet player.

    Love you very much. I always felt your emotions, personality, and love coming through your horn.

    Wishing you much love
    William Revere, II

  7. Sophla says:

    Happy Birthday, CT.

  8. Phyllis Kauflin says:

    So glad to see you’re having a healthy and very happy birthday!! Thank you for all you’ve given to the music world, your legacy will live forever!! Much love from VA Beach, the Kauflins and “grandma”