Being Grateful and Enjoying Life!

I’m so thankful to Big Prez for keeping me out of the hospital! Haven’t been there since July of last year. And now, I’m able to sit up for around two hours a day. Going for three. I’ve been feeling pretty well. A few challenges here and there, but nothing serious. It could be a lot worse, you know. That’s why I make a special effort to keep a sense of humor, and continue doing what I love most of all – giving lessons to my students.

A lesson with my student, Quincy Cavers Photo Credit: Gwen Terry

A lesson with my student, Quincy Cavers
Photo Credit: Gwen Terry

There’s so much that I enjoy sharing about the music. Mainly, the interpretation of the jazz language – which notes to ghost (hit lightly) and which to accent; having enough air to give respect to each note time-wise and linear-wise; how and when to slur or “flip” a note; playing in tune; how to create and incorporate solos. Things like that. One thing is for sure, if you don’t have enough air, you can’t blow the notes. I always say, “Fill up before you fluff out.”

I encourage my students to listen to the rhythm of a tap dancer. Listen to the accents. You don’t hear, “tap, tap, tap” with every step having the same emphasis. You hear, “Whap! Doo-BOP-shoo-GOW!” It’s the same with jazz phrasing. And that “doodle-tonguing,” well I could write a book about that. I did my best to write some concise techniques in my Terry Tunes book on that subject.

I’m proud of all of my students. Each and every one of them! They are the greatest joy in my life, and I love to share techniques and tidbits with them.  I’m happy to say that my student, Justin Kauflin, got signed recently for a world tour (Global Gumbo) with Quincy Jones. Q, as you know, was my first student back when he was a young teenager. Click here to check out Q’s tour artists, including Justin.

Talking about gratitude, I appreciate all my dear friends around the world. Thank you for your kind gifts, prayers, and well wishes. I’m sending a BIG thank-you to Arild Wideroe who spearheaded a drive to help out with my 24-hour care  – ten grand. When I found out he and some of our mutual friends had sent such a fantastic birthday gift to my account at JFA (Jazz Foundation of America), I was bowled over! I’m so blessed to have friends who give me the courage to keep on keepin’ on. Absolutely! Especially with me being an o-l-d fart. It really meant a lot! God bless you all.

I always enjoy hearing from my friends. The other day, Alan Matheson called and asked me how I was doing, I said, “I’m glad to be a round, since I don’t want to be a square.” You know, I learned a long time ago that laughter makes the whole scene better.  A cat named Shorty Mac taught me that on my first road gig with the Reuben and Cherry Carnival. I wrote about him in my book. A real fun cat. Thanks for that advice, Shorty Mac. I’ll never forget our friendship!

One of my old-time friends, a cat named Lennie Sogoloff, checked on me the other day. He used to run Lennie’s on the Turnpike a while back. Nice club in Massachusetts. He said, “Hey, Clark. You still have a bar bill.” I told him, “Put it on Phil Woods’ tab!” We cracked up. Then we caught up with the happenings, and reminisced about the days when I played at his club. Click here for a nice write-up about it.

I hope you’ve all been enjoying 2013, and finding things to laugh about.  I had a good report from my doctor recently, and I went to my dentist to have my teeth cleaned. I told Gwen, “That technician poked, and scraped and dug around in my mouth a while! She dug some of the mf’s out, but I think she left some in there.” So much for my New Year’s resolution to cut out the cussing. I guess you can’t hurry up and change an old fart like me. But, at least, I’m doing better.

Gwen and I just celebrated out twenty-first wedding anniversary on Valentines Day. I chose that day so I wouldn’t forget. It’s worked most of the time. She and Quincy Cavers surprised me with a gospel trio. I really enjoyed it. Nice bunch of cats, and some great music. It reminded me of my old days at Corinthian Baptist Church.

I sang along while they played. What a beautiful anniversary gift! Left to right: Joey Davis (p), Donny “DJ” Haywood (dr), and James “Dino” Smith (b) Photo Credit: Gwen Terry

I sang along while they played. What a beautiful anniversary gift!
Left to right: Joey Davis (p), Donny “DJ” Haywood (dr), and James “Dino” Smith (b)
Photo Credit: Gwen Terry

Back when Terri Lyne Carrington was around ten years old, I was honored to have some involvement with her career. I’ve always been so proud of her, and I’m looking forward to checking out her new CD – Money Jungle.  I’m sure it’s a gas. Fortunately, I had the pleasure of playing a bit on it. I wasn’t really “up to snuff” on the trumpet, but I did my best for her. When I did my Mumbles thing, we all had a ball! Click here for more info.

A bunch of my friends said that they didn’t catch the 2013 broadcast of my quintet at Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase in Chicago on New Year’s Eve back in ’89. We did that set live on WBGO and NPR back then. We had Red Holloway, Willie “The Picker” Pickens, Larry Gray and Charles Braughan swinging all night long. Man, I miss Brother Red!

When I told my friends at WBGO about you all missing the broadcast, they sent me a link where you can listen. In case you want to dig it. click here.

“Brother” Red Holloway and me, hanging out in the early 90’s. Photo Credit: Gwen Terry

“Brother” Red Holloway and me, hanging out in the early 90’s.
Photo Credit: Gwen Terry

Answers For Your Questions:

You know, I had a limited number of pages to cover your concerns when I wrote my autobiography. Since some of you still had questions, I promised to try to answer one on each blog from now on. This time, I chose one from my Guestbook. It was posted on 1/1/13 from Bruce J. Green. He wrote, “During the 1950’s you participated in a jam session with vocalist Dinah Washington; your fellow trumpet players on the session were Maynard Ferguson and Clifford Brown. My question is simple: What was Clifford Brown like to play with? Likewise, what was it like to play with Maynard Ferguson? “

Thanks for your question, man. I’m going to try something different  – an audio response. That’s Gwen’s voice you’ll hear along with mine, and Quincy Cavers did the engineering.  I appreciate them for helping me out with this new-fangled technology. If you all dig this audio answer idea, let me know and I’ll do it, again. Click to listen to the answer to Bruce’s question.

Until next time, I hope you’ll keep a sense of humor when facing challenges. That definitely helps me to enjoy life. That, and continuing to uplift the young folks – whether they’re musicians or whatever they doing. Here’s a photo of my next door neighbor’s son – Kyle Coleman. He came by to tell me about his football team’s victory. They won the championship game at the Bowl! Two championships in one family – Kyle’s and his father’s. Monte Coleman (Kyle’s father) is head coach of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Golden Lions football team. Monte’s team won the SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference) championship, and he was Coach of the Year.

Kyle plays receiver for Arkansas State University’s Red Wolves. We had a ball shooting the breeze. Congratulations, Kyle, on your team’s championship! Photo Credit: Gwen Terry

Kyle plays receiver for Arkansas State University’s Red Wolves. We had a ball shooting the breeze. Congratulations, Kyle, on your team’s championship!
Photo Credit: Gwen Terry

Take care, and remember that I love you all very much, and I thank Big Prez for you!

| general | 11 Comments

11 Responses to Being Grateful and Enjoying Life!

  1. Frank Holder says:

    Frank Clark Terry has been an inspiration to many in the jazz world and beyond! All the best Clark!

  2. Curt says:

    Dear Clark: You taught by example so many of us here in New Hampshire (and everywhere) what it means to be a jazz musician and a humanitarian. You won’t know me by name, but I want you to know how deeply we appreciate your loving spirit, your unending generosity, and the fact that you “kept on keepin’ on” through so many ordeals in life. Through more than 35 years of your visits here, your stories and your example were always full of “life lessons” for those who paid attention. For you to exist as such a beautiful presence, who deeply touched the lives of so many, even after experiencing such terrible hatred and obstacles, is a gift to us. Thank you for persevering in the face of racism. Thank you for integrating the NBC Orchestra. Thank you for all the beauty you created with music. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. Thank you for such deep swing! And thank you for all your grace. With great affection to you and Gwen, I speak for so many people who love CT!

  3. Mark Oldroyd says:

    Mr. Terry,
    One of the most memorable experiences of my life was in June of 1999 at a small club in St. Louis. There was some kind of mix-up and only about 20 people showed. We thought that the small turnout and problems were way beneath the dignity of such a world-class artist and your excellent quartet. As the ultimate classy professional, you did not complain, hold back or throw a tissy. It was like you were playing for 10,000 people, and we were on the front row diggin’ the inimitable CT sound. Best of all, after the gig, you sat down next to me, and we just chatted like old buddies. You told us some great stories about growing up in STL and going to Roosevelt HS. I swiped a poster from the wall and you personalized it with your signature and drawing of the little trumpet. It is framed on the wall, and it inspires me everyday as I enter and exit my “woodshed”/office. There will never, EVER be a jazz stylist as unique as CT and as magnanimous and beautiful of a human being. You are so loved and admired and always will be! You hang on, keep smilin’ and THANK YOU!!!

  4. Dale Carlson says:

    Clark and Gwen (and Quincy),
    I loved the “audio answer” segment.
    Please keep them coming !!

    Best of everything to you,

  5. Sheila (VOOT) Bates says:

    Dear uncle CT

    I am so very thankful to BIG PREZ that you still have such a beautiful sense of humor! I pray each day & night that you are comforted and that GOD brings peace to you. I miss your laughter and jokes, I miss your awesome ability to make me laugh. You are truly a mentor to and for me. You have taught me how to fight and win. You have taught me to never give up on my hopes and dreams. You instilled in me to have passion about anything I do. THANK YOU AND I LOVE YOU {{{{{{{HUGS FOR STL}}}}} Sheila hope to see you soon

  6. Michael Miller says:

    Dear Clark,

    As always, it’s so wonderful to know you’re continuing to enjoy life while spreading joy to the lives of so many!

    The California Trio is so looking forward to visiting you again this summer!

    Sending you oodles (and doodles) of love,

    Michael, Josh and Noah 🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. Steve Lucas says:

    CT – So very glad to hear from/about you. Just the thought of you brings a smile to my face. We met in 1973 when you were the guest artist judge at a jazz festival where I was a student participant and I have been a HUGE fan ever since. Your very presence not only blesses us all but continues to inspire, just as it always has. There is nobody like you. You are one of a kind – the finest kind – and even though I’m 56 years old now, I want to be just like you when I grow up!!! Stay happy and keep doing what you do. Nobody does it better.

  8. Gerry Wittmann says:

    Mr. Terry,

    Greetings from St. Louis. Glad you are feeling better. I saw you a few years back at UMSL scatting with the band — beautiful, swinging sounds, what a treat for me to hear !!! Take care, and let’s go Cardinals !!!

  9. mc says:

    so happy to know you are well! a thousand blessings on you – you are my hero!

    much love
    MC in Paris

  10. Hey C.T.,
    Love the Blog! You continue to be inspirational to me and to so many others – something I do not take for granted. Love to you and Gwen! Keep On Keepin’ On! LOVE YOU MADLY!

  11. Jason Byrne says:

    Mr. Clark Terry – glad you are feeling better! I was just listening to your album “The Power of Positive Swinging” – one of my favorite records of all time my man! I also listen regularly to your recording, “Live at The Village Gate” with the swinging Kenny Washington on drums, love that one too.

    I have your book next up on my list, can’t wait to read it.

    All the best to you Clark!!!

    Love, peace and laughter,
    Jason Byrne, Brooklyn, NY