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Happy New Year!

Big Prez (Clark’s nickname for God) has blessed us all to get ready for 2013! Man, I’m wishing everybody a Happy New Year! I’m praying that your dreams will come true, and things will be better than ever for all of us.

Here at home, I am definitely going to celebrate. But first, I’m thanking Big Prez and all of you for helping me to stay above the grass. Absolutely! Couldn’t have made it by myself. God bless you all for that!

A strange thing happened tonight. I told Marilyn (Turner. One of Clark’s health aides.) to hurry and get Gwen. When Gwen came to my bed, she asked me what was happening. I told her that I had to rush and get dressed for a concert, and I was worried because I didn’t know who was going to play with me.

She told me later that since I hadn’t even tried to play in months, she decided to see if I would. So, when she saw how frantic I was, she said, “Well, let’s get your horn, and you warm it up while I get your clothes together.” Quincy (Cavers. One of Clark’s students.) came in and checked out the scene. Gwen told him to run and get my horn. When I blew a note, I snapped out of what had, apparently, been a dream. It was all a dream. The concert and everything. And the sound that came out of my horn brought me back to reality fast. It made me realize what I already knew: that you can’t just pick up your horn after a long time of not playing, and do what you used to do. But, man, it was a beautiful feeling to know that I was strong enough to hold my horn and blow that note! I’d been thinking that I was too weak. Gwen took the photo below while all of that was going on.

Funny how dreams can seem so real. For a moment, I really thought I had a concert to play.Photo Credit: Gwen Terry

Funny how dreams can seem so real. For a moment, I really thought I had a concert to play.
Photo Credit: Gwen Terry

It’s good to dream, because it can lead to reality. Now, I’m nowhere near being able to play like I used to do. But who knows? Maybe with some practice… Gotta keep a positive attitude. No matter what!

Gwen asked me what my New Year’s resolutions are, and I told her that my only resolution is to “Keep Steppin’.” Full speed ahead! But, she kept at it, so I thought about a list of resolutions for the first time in a l-o-n-g time. Lately, I’ve had lots of time to think. Back when I was on the circuit, I was busy playing and teaching and traveling. Now, I’ve got more time to reflect. So, I came up with a few things.

1. I want to continue to do my part in mentoring young jazz musicians. They all enjoy learning about my “doodle-tongue” system, which helps them to articulate their fast passages better and more distinctly. We get a big kick out of it. That, and teaching them about the interpretation of the jazz language.  I’d like to make a YouTube video about those lessons one day.

One of the young trumpeters is planning to come back for more lessons soon. He’s seventeen years old, and his name is Ben Seacrist. He’s got a very promising career. And he’s been noticed by a few people in the business for whom I have great respect like Esperanza Spalding and Michael Miller. I’ve enjoyed spending time with Ben, talking about the things that he has tried and mastered. To see a video of Ben’s recent audition for the Grammy Band, click here.

Here's Ben Seacrist sharing a trumpet lesson with me.Photo: Gwen Terry

Here’s Ben Seacrist sharing a trumpet lesson with me.
Photo: Gwen Terry

2. Gwen wants me to work on eliminating cuss words from my vocabulary. I told her that I would try. It’s just the normal way that I’ve talked all of my life, and old habits are hard to break. She told me about a comedian named Steve Harvey, and all about how he is trying to cut out the cussing, too. I’m really going to give it a whirl, because now I realize that I don’t need to keep it up. It’s not a good influence on the younger cats.

3. I want to work on getting out of bed more. Right now, I’m up and in my wheelchair around 1 – 2 hours a day at the most. I know that I need to do better. I’m getting there, because I’m always doing my upper body workouts, and I’m getting stronger.

4. I want to finish my autobiography audiobook, and the CD with Q (Quincy Jones) and Snoop (Lion). Then do some jazz history CDs. If you’ve got a question that you want me to answer, or some suggestions for the jazz history CDs, just write a reply below or in my Guestbook. Your ideas would be beautiful, and they would mean a lot to me. I’m hoping to get back into the position of generating enough income to pay my own way again.  Man, talking about being thankful when that happens! Then, I’ll be able to help others, like I used to do. And I can get back to supporting the Jazz Foundation of America, so they can help more jazz musicians in need.

5.  I don’t know what #5 is yet. But I’ll think of something.

Meanwhile, enjoy the New Year’s celebrations. And if you’re so inclined, I hope that you’ll check out the broadcast of my quintet when we played at Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase in Chicago back in ’89. This was a New Year’s Eve gig that we did live on WBGO and NPR, and it was unforgettable. Absolutely. My dear friend, Red Holloway was featured, and you know what Red can do on his sax. Man! I really dug that set, and I hope you will, too. Willie “The Picker” Pickens was tearing those piano keys up! Larry Gray was definitely playing that bass, and Charles Braughan kept the drum beats swinging. Man! They were all playing their a.., oh, yeah, I’m trying to cut the cussing out. So, I’ll say that it was a great, great set.

On wbgo.org, you can listen in at 1:30 a.m. (Eastern Time) on this New Year’s Eve, or 4:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) on New Year’s Day 2013.

Remember that I love you all!

Clark Terry

| happenings, Happy Holidays | 34 Comments

34 Responses to Happy New Year!

  1. Nils says:

    Dear Clark Terry,

    Wishing you a beautiful year 2014 – All the best of Health and Happiness.
    Your music has always inspired me, as your music is so lyrical.
    All the best!

    Nils

  2. Jeff Neu says:

    Dear CT,
    You have spent a lifetime teaching jazz to the world and now you are teaching grace and humility. I am always when a super talent manages to stay humble. You are the supeR talent and have stayed so humble and grounded in reality it is really difficult to understand. I suspect you had a really wonderful mother. I have always found people with humility and grace came from families with good role models for mothers. If that is true, your mother must have really been special. People as wonderful as you don’t happen by accident.

    I feel very privileged to have been able to hear you live on multiple occasions. Hearing you live ranks right up there as some of the most special events of my life. I first heard you at Jazz Clinic in Morehead State University. That time I was a high school student. You definitely inspired me to try to learn jazz trumpet. Later I heard you with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. That was really cool as the lead trombone player, Linda Landis, is an old college buddy. She was fortunate and talented enough that you chose her to appear in an all female jazz band while she was studying at Morehead State University. Finally, I heard you at a mall in Cincinnate several years back. Dom’t ask me what years these events happened. Dates escape me. Fortunately, the sounds still reside in my mind. I can live without remembering dates. Not remembering great. Jazz would be too tragic to endure. I was also fortunate to hear the great Oscar Oeterson Live in Cincinnati in the early 1980’s. He appeared with Herboe Hancock in concert. I kind of felt bad for Mr. Hancock that evening. He and Oscar traded fours. I don’t need to tell you Hancock couldn’t battle Oscar playing straight ahead jazz. Hancock started playing his modern quartal harmonies and Oscar p,ayed it all back twice as fast. I deeply regret not hearing you and Oscar together live. Your playing was absolutely perfect for each other. I can listen to your duo album recorded on Pablo every day for monthe and never get tired of it. Simply the best ever. I will continue praying for health and peace for you and Mrs. Terry. She seems like a keeper for sure:). I think you both deserve each other. You both seem to have found the best.

    Be well,
    Jeff Neu

  3. Michael and Zoe Johnston says:

    Dear Clark and Gwen,
    We pray that March is a great month for you! Just know we think the world of you two. We love you.

  4. Greg Jones says:

    Dear Mr. Terry!

    I’ve met you three times in my life, once in Springfield, Ohio, the next night in Toledo with the Newport Jazz All Stars, and once in New York at a tribute to Al Grey. I in fact stayed at Al and Rosie’s house for those few days.

    In Toledo, you not only insisted I eat dinner with you backstage…RIBS. But when I tried to defer, you wandered down the hall, and came back with a plate of Ribs for me anyway! I was stunned at your kindness! WOW! What a gentleman you were…and are!

    I’ve always been a fan of yours…and love so much of what you have done musically. But after reading your website and seeing your struggles…and still keeping such a great attitude. I now realize you as a musician are incredible, but Clark Terry as a human being is a force of positivity, kindness, and a brilliant light to follow.

    My wife and I are going through tough times right now like so many others, but after reading your blog, I know we can Keep on…Keepin’ on.

    We’ll survive if we adopt your positive attitude. Thanks you for still being Clark Terry…the positive force…second only to Big Prez!

    Everyone should know a Clark Terry and have one in their life.