Big Prez (my nickname for God) has smiled on me, again. If you ever want to see a blessed, bald-headed, greasy old fart, just look my way. There are no words to tell you how much I appreciate all of you for being in my corner and paying for the care that I need at home. I’m always thinking of you! None of this would have been possible without your love. Thank You!!!
And I’ve got to thank all of my friends who worked so hard to honor my love for mentoring with such a beautiful film like “Keep On Keepin’ On.” So many dear friends to thank. Many of them are my students! Click here for more info. I am very humbled, and very grateful.
On top of that, Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Roy Hargrove, Esperanza Spalding, and Justin Kauflin are going to perform right after the premiere in the same room. Like Jackie Gleason used to say, “How sweet it is!”
My dear friend, Quincy Jones organized the whole music scene. It really touched my heart that Quincy, Dianne, Herbie, Roy, Esperanza, and Justin are planning to do all of that for me. It is so beautiful, and I feel so blessed! Man, I wish I could be there!
All of this good news about the film is very welcome, because it’s been almost four months since my last blog. Reason being, after my birthday on December 14th, I was hit with some pretty strong uppercuts and jabs health-wise. Back pain, chest congestions, Laryngitis, and some other oddities. Even had to reschedule lessons with my students.
Through all of those stormy days, I did my best to hang in there. You can’t imagine how much you’ve lifted my spirit and encouraged me to stay involved on the scene.
Bob is a dear friend, and a great trumpet player. I was speechless when he told me that he and some beautiful friends in Hamburg had put on a fundraiser for me in January! Dozens of cats, man! They put their donations into my Clark Terry Fund at the Jazz Foundation of America. Can you imagine how that made me feel? All I could do was shake my head, and thank Big Prez for so many blessings. I was very happy that Bob came to visit me. And I asked him to tell everyone over there in Hamburg that I appreciate what they did more than they will ever know!
Thank you, again, for helping me to have such great 24-hour-care. My health aides have been lifesavers. Encouraging me and doing their best to cover all of my needs.
Even though it gets rough for me sometimes, I’ve always believed that you just can’t throw in the towel. No matter what! If there’s the slightest chance for victory, then we’ve got to aim for it. I’ve had days when health problems knocked me down. But I kept praying and trying with all my strength to get back up. I’d lie in my bed and lift my arms up and over my head a hundred times a day. Do whatever I could to move that circulation. I’ve kept on fighting back because there is no other choice.
When I realized that Old Arthur (Arthritis) was causing problems with my hands and squashing my attempts to get back into playing my horns, I did the next best thing to fight back. I kept my iPod going 24/7. There’s magic in that music! It kept my mind off my troubles, and focused on positive vibes.
Dianne Reeves called me on the phone and said she had a little time off. Said she wanted to visit me. I couldn’t wait to see her, and thank her in person for planning to sing after the film premiere at Tribeca. She came and hung out with me, and it was a gas! We shot the breeze, and then we listened to her newest CD.
Before I end this blog, I’ve got to tell you how much I appreciate that swinging 93rd birthday party last December. That was one of the best parties I’ve ever had! Live music from some of my students at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. And, man, friends came from near and far. I had so many calls until I went to sleep with the phone in my hand. Partied until 4 o’clock in the morning! I hung in there the best I could in my wheelchair, on the couch, and in my bed. Wore me out! But I really had fun, and everybody said they did, too.
And that hand-blown glass trumpet was a gift from my beautiful friends, Robert and Sophia Phillipson. They came all the way from Holland to my party. We had a great time!
To each and every one of you who sent me beautiful birthday cards, gifts, emails, and posts on my site, I hope you know that you made this old man very happy. Believe me, I’ll remember that birthday forever!
I’ve also got to thank Francois Desbrosses, Dominique Brigaud, Tina Vartanian and all of my friends at Hot Club de France, Bulletin du hcf, for that great birthday write-up – “Bon Anniversaire Mr. Clark Terry!” It meant a whole lot to me! What a hip surprise. Thank you for not forgetting about me.
Peter Zimmerman and all the cats at Allegro Magazine published a beautiful article about me in their January issue – “The Amazing Clark Terry.” I loved it! Thank you all for doing that for me. I really appreciated it a lot. Click here if you’d like to peek at it: http://www.local802afm.org/2013/12/the-amazing-clark-terry/
I’m dedicating this blog to my very dear friends who passed away last year. I miss them so much. They are still in our hearts, and will never be forgotten – Donald Byrd, Mike Canterino, George Duke, Herb Geller, Chico Hamilton, Yusef Lateef, Marian McPartland, Mulgrew Miller, Claude Nobs, Phil Ramone, Ed Shaughnessy, Cedar Walton, Frank Wess, and Jennie Wilkins. I will always love you!
And to all of you who are still on this side of the grass with me, I want you to know that I appreciate everything that you have done and are doing for me. I thank Big Prez for all of your kindness and encouragement every single day. I love you with all of my heart. Let’s keep praying for each other, and keep on keepin’ on!