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Beautiful Things Are Happening!

Your help has brought us to tears many times. Clark said, “There are no words to explain how happy you have made me. I still can’t believe that all of these beautiful things are happening.”

Because of you, we are able to afford the 24-hour acute health care that he needs here at home. Since the memorable fundraiser held for Clark on April 23rd at Saint Peter’s Church in Manhattan, he’s been on the phone daily with fellow musicians and friends to share his appreciation for everyone who helped to make the event a big success. Other friends worldwide have sent donations, and we’re enjoying the opportunity to write many letters of gratitude for such an outpouring of love.

One week after the fundraiser, Terri Lyne Carrington called and asked Clark if he would like to record a track on her newest project – a CD featuring Duke Ellington’s music. He said, “Well, you know, my hands are pretty stiff, but I’ll do my best.”

Terri Lyne is one of his former students, and we were very happy when she won a Grammy this past February. Clark said, “She’s got some serious talent. I’m so glad that it was recognized.”

On May 24th, she flew down from Boston to do the session. Richard Bailey, who teaches Audio Recording at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), did the engineering. Although arthritis presented some challenges for Clark in playing his trumpet, he had no trouble at all when he lit up the room with his scat-singing and “Mumbles” riffs. We were all “wowed!”

Later, when I asked him about the session, he said, “I had a lot of fun doing it. I really did. But the main thing is that Terri Lyne said that she was happy with what I did. That’s what matters the most to me.”

L-R: Terri Lyne, Quincy Cavers, Richard Bailey and Clark
Photo by Gary Paris.

Four days after the recording session, Clark developed a serious urinary tract complication. He was admitted to the Jefferson Regional Medical Center (JRMC) hospital here in Pine Bluff on May 28th.

While he was being treated at JRMC, another wonderful fundraiser was given in Clark’s honor in Graz, Austria. The benefit concert which was held on May 30th was spearheaded by one of his former students, Stjepko Gut, who has played in many of Clark’s bands and taught at several universities internationally. They have been friends for forty years.

Stjepko also helped to compile Clark’s book of original compositions – Terry Tunes. For more info on this classic songbook, click here.

To see a flyer about some of the musicians who donated their performance at the Graz concert, please click here.

When I told Clark that the Graz benefit raised One Thousand Dollars, he said, “Looks like Big Prez (his nickname for God) is always sending more reasons for me to keep on keepin’ on. I appreciate Stjepko and all of the cats in Graz for being in my corner.”

Clark wasn’t able to appear on Skype during the concert because of a poor wi-fi connection from his room at JRMC. He asked me to go home and represent him on Skype, and to give his love to everyone. When I did, it was very heart-warming to see so much love being sent to Clark from Austria. I really enjoyed the music, especially their rendition of Clark’s tune, “Mumbles.” When I told Clark about it later, he had a big smile on his face.

Below is a photo of Stjepko’s ensemble from that night, which has additional musicians who weren’t listed on the above flyer.

L-R: Tuomo Uusitalo – piano, Stjepko Gut – tpt, Lubos Brtan – gtr., Anush Apoyan – vcls.,
Florian Muralter – bass, Sandor Molnar – sax, Gerhard Ornig – tpt,
Mathias Rupping – drms., and Simon Kintopp – tbn.
Photo by Gerald Imre.

On June 8th, Dr. Simmie Armstrong made arrangements to transfer Clark to the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences (UAMS) hospital in Little Rock for more treatments, under the care of Dr. Jonathan Laryea and his team of physicians.

While Clark was in UAMS, another spirit-lifter happened on June 12th! The Jazz Foundation of America (JFA) sponsored a grand Miles Davis Stamp Release Soiree at the historic Bogardus Mansion in Manhattan. For more info about the soiree, click here.

We were both thrilled that JFA sponsored such a fabulous celebration for Miles’ new forever stamp. Regarding the soiree, Clark said, “I appreciate what they (JFA) did for my man, Miles. I know he’s smiling down about the whole scene.”

JFA honored Clark at the soiree by providing postcards affixed with Miles’ new stamp in support of a Clark Terry Letter-Writing Campaign. Clark has received more than three hundred postcards from the event. It took quite a while, but he insisted that I read every one of them to him. He was quite overwhelmed during the reading. He said, “Can you believe this?”

Regarding JFA, Clark said, “They know how much I love them. Always have. Since the beginning. I love what they’re about. Helping jazz musicians. Not just saying it, but doing it.”

Alan Hicks, who is also a student of Clark’s, called to check on Clark’s condition at UAMS. When Clark told him that things were better, he asked Alan to come for a visit. At that time, although Clark’s urinary tract challenges were not completely resolved, at least his pain and complications had decreased dramatically.

Finally, the doctors told us that were pleased enough with his improvement to discharge him on June 13th. We were all thanking God! Alan and his friend, Adam Hart, went with me to help in bringing Clark home. One of Clark’s health aides, J’Marcus Walker was on hand to help, along with one of Clark’s students, Quincy Cavers. It definitely takes muscles to lift Clark from the car to his wheelchair, and then into his bed.

After seventeen days of treatments at JRMC and UAMS, when we got Clark settled at home, he said, “I’m thanking Big Prez for getting me out of those hospitals. Believe me!”

Alan, Adam, Quincy, and our son Gary surrounded Clark with love. Clark was giving jazz lessons from bedside, as usual, and then he asked about the progress on the film. Alan and Adam are the two young men who have been filming a documentary for two years entitled – “Keep On Keepin’ On.” It’s about Clark’s passion for teaching jazz, and it features one of Clark’s students named Justin Kauflin. To see a trailer of their film, please click here.

When Justin called to see how Clark was feeling, he found out that Alan and Adam were here so he wanted to come and play for Clark. He brought his seeing-eye-dog Candy with him, as usual. Whenever Clark was awake, they all kept him happy.

A few days later, Clark received a call from Quincy Jones (Q). They had been talking for at least a decade about doing a jazz CD with Snoop Dogg rapping, so that today’s rap generation can learn more about jazz musicians and the evolution of rap music.

In 2005, Q arranged a meeting in Manhattan with Clark and Snoop to discuss the project. I was with Clark at that meeting. Q joined in via speakerphone, and everybody had a great time. Snoop asked questions about jazz for hours, and Clark enjoyed sharing his experiences.

One of Snoop’s rappers, Terrace Martin, was filming the meeting for a future documentary. He surprised us when he pulled out his sax and played ‘Round Midnight for Clark. When he finished, Clark had a huge smile on his face, and he congratulated Terrace.

Clark had a late dinner, told jokes, and hung out with Snoop and Terrace until 4 a.m. They talked, sang tunes, and laughed so much that night until Clark was hoarse the next night during his concert. He said, “It’s cool because I had a ball with Snoop and the cats!”

During the recent phone call, Q asked to be put on speakerphone so that I could be included. He said, “Young people need to know their music history. They need to know how rap and jazz are connected. How things have come down through the years. They need to know that jazz musicians originated rap way back in the day with things like ‘playing the dozens,’ and syncopated rhymes. They need to know their pioneers. The jazz legends. All the cats who paved the way, man.”

Clark said, “It’s all a process that took one step, and then another. The music kept stepping all the time, taking things to a different level. It’s all related.” As they talked, Clark said, “I love it when young rappers like Snoop know what’s happening. He’s very knowledgeable about the whole scene. And he’s got an extremely gifted jazz sax player with him. Terrace is a qualified jazz cat who seems to fit in both scenes – jazz and rap.”

After details were worked out to record some tracks, Snoop flew here for a day on June 17th, along with his engineer, Terrace Martin, and other members of his crew. When Snoop was talking with me about the project, he said, “I’m down with what Uncle Quincy (Q) wants to do. I came here to help bridge that gap between jazz and rap.”

L-R: Alan Hicks on camera, Clark, Terrace, and Snoop.
Photo by Quincy Cavers.

Terrace hung out with Clark to take some jazz lessons for a few days after Snoop left, and Quincy Cavers joined in with his sax. It was so great to see how happy Clark was as he talked about how much he enjoyed working with Snoop, while giving pointers to Terrace and Quincy.

On June 23rd, Q came here for a day to do a few more tracks. He said, “This is history! I’m glad that it’s finally getting done!”

Clark and Quincy
Photo by Alan Hicks.

When Justin played the piano during the recording session, Clark’s face was just beaming. I sat there in awe! Justin and Q talked a long time afterwards. I had tears in my eyes as I watched Clark’s first student – Q – and one of his latest students – Justin – having such a deep conversation right here at the kitchen table in our home, while Clark was napping in bed.

In the middle of the night, after Q had gone and everyone was asleep, I asked Clark how he felt about the session. He said, “I can’t really put into words how grateful I am. I love everybody who was here to record with me. Starting with Terri Lyne, and then Snoop, and my man, Q. I thank The Old Man Upstairs for the whole scene.”

When he spoke about his students, he said, “You know what my students mean to me. All of them. And Justin, I was so proud of him. He’s coming along beautifully. I think Q liked his playing, too. And I hope Q and Snoop were happy with what I did.”

Things calmed down for a few days, and then another one of Clark’s students, Chris Klaxton, came to visit on June 27th. He had just received his master’s degree from the University of Miami in Jazz Trumpet, and he wanted to see how Clark was doing. Chris has played in several of Clark’s youth bands and has traveled internationally with Clark.

Chris said, “I met Clark when I was fourteen. He means the world to me. I’ve learned so much from him, and I can never thank him enough.” They had a great time catching up on things, and listening to some of the music that Chris brought with him.

Most of Clark’s days are spent in bed, but he is able to sit in his wheelchair for two to three hours a day. His left leg amputation site is almost healed, and his appetite is healthy. He’s looking great and he says he’s feeling all right. When there are no visitors, he listens to music, talks on the phone, and enjoys hearing me read your comments on his site, as well as your letters and cards that come in the mail.

While he and I were finalizing this blog last night, he began reminiscing about some of his friends who aren’t here anymore. Among those he mentioned, he talked about two of our favorite ladies who have gone on to glory within the last few months – Carrie Smith and Phoebe Jacobs.

He said, “Carrie was a powerful singer. I enjoyed recording and working with her. When I used to announce her performance, I’d say, ‘You’d better listen, because you don’t get to hear this too often!’ She always created unexpected excitement.”

To see a youtube video of Carrie’s charismatic talent, click here.

Then he talked about Phoebe. “She was a real powerhouse on the jazz scene. Most people don’t know how serious she was. How she got Louie’s (Armstrong) camp going, and things like that. Whenever I needed something, I could always depend on Phoebe to get it done. She was frank, exact, and responsible.”

For more info about Phoebe, click here.

We also talked about how much has happened recently here at home, with plans for him to do more recording. As you can see, your prayers and love have lifted Clark’s spirit and helped to pull him through the avalanche of health challenges that he has faced. Although he still has some serious challenges, your love has helped him to have the courage to do three recent recording sessions, and to continue his greatest passion – teaching young jazz musicians.

He says, “I’m looking forward to more and more!” We still have plans for him to teach on Skype.

We send our love and gratitude to all of you. Please stay in touch, and continue to keep him in your prayers.

Blessings and hugs,
Gwen

| happenings | 12 Comments

Thank You!!!

On April 23, 2012, a miracle happened! Knowing that Clark needed help, fifty-eight of his musician friends donated their performances in an incredible two-and-one-half-hour fundraising concert for him at the Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan. It was such a blessing to work with the superb production team which included the Saint Peter’s Jazz Ministry, the Jazz Foundation of America, International Women in Jazz, and Duke Ellington Society. With performances by so many legendary musicians, and two of Clark’s award-winning young students – Justin Kauflin and Josh Shpak – it was truly a night to remember.

At the concert, there was standing room only, people who couldn’t get in were gathered in the lobby, and folks were still dancing when the last note was played. The music was spectacular!

Jazz Foundation of America reported that more than $25,000 was donated through their foundation to a special “Clark Terry Fund” from people worldwide to help defray his out-of-pocket medical costs for round-the-clock medical care that he needs.

We are so very, very grateful. We’ve been thanking God daily for the tremendous outpouring of love from so many friends. Clark said, “I want to thank each and every one who did this extremely beautiful thing for me. Collectively and individually. I will never forget what you have done. Never, as long as I live!”

Dr David Demsey (photo by Donya Kato)

David Demsey, who is in the above photo, is the Coordinator of Jazz Studies and Curator for the Clark Terry Archive at William Paterson University. As our gracious emcee for the event, he said, “I’ve never seen that many stellar musicians in one concert, ever. Any number of them could have packed a club individually but they were all there together, playing their hearts out for Clark!”

Many of the assembled Musicians (photo by Ed Berger)

Most of the musicians who performed were able to be present for the pre-concert group photo shown above. Below is the list of everyone who donated their talent that night:

Clifford Adams, Jr., Carl Allen, Lisle Atkinson, Art Baron, Gene Bertoncini, Valerie Capers, Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Sylvia Cuenca, Paquito D’Rivera, Dee Daniels, Bryan Davis, David Demsey, Lou Donaldson, Mark Elf, Essiet Essiet, Don Friedman, Greg Gisbert, Dave Glasser, Bill Goodwin, Wycliffe Gordon, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Winard Harper, Barry Harris, Louis Hayes, Jimmy Heath, Conrad Herwig, Jack Jeffers, Ingrid Jensen, Melba Joyce, Justin Kauflin, Stantawn Kendrick, Bob Kindred, Victor Lewis, Tony Lujan, Russell Malone, Sarah McLawler, Marcus McLaurine, Mulgrew Miller, Shawnn Monteiro, Frank Owens, Jimmy Owens, Jeremy Pelt, Anne Phillips, Rufus Reid, Wallace Roney, Bill Saxton, John Simon, Josh Shpak, Don Sickler, Norman Simmons, Lew Soloff, Helen Sung, Steve Turre, Cedar Walton, Frank Wess, Buster Williams, Phil Woods, and surprise guests.

It was truly a miraculous event, beginning with prayers by Pastor A. J. Derr and a welcome by Pastor Dale Lind. During the entire concert, the music had everyone tapping their feet and clapping their hands. Many of Clark’s friends called later to say how incredible it was to hear so much great music from so many fantastic musicians in one concert. They said that it was a historic event!

Toward the end of the concert, Clark made an appearance via Skype, as shown below. When the audience saw him on the huge screen and realized that it was a live broadcast from Arkansas, they erupted with a loud cheer that lasted for quite a while. Clark was speechless. I had to encourage him to talk. It was all very emotional, to say the least.

Clark and Gwen Terry via Skype (photo by Ed Berger)

Just before the last tune, a four-minute trailer of the film “Keep On Keepin’ On” was shown. This heart-warming film is a work-in-progress which is being done by one of Clark’s former William Paterson University students, Alan Hicks, and his partner, Adam Hart. It features Clark’s relationship with one of his youngest students, Justin Kauflin, a blind pianist who was a semi-finalist for the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. It focuses on the serious health challenges that Clark was facing while still teaching Justin who suffers from acute stage fright. If you’d like to see the trailer, please click here.

In additional to Clark’s compositions, the repertoire for the evening included tunes that had been performed by Clark’s friends, including Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Count Basie, and Frank Foster. The last tune was played in a jam session style and included all brass players, saxophonists, and vocalists who had performed during the concert. It was Clark’s composition, “Keep On Keepin’ On” which included audience participation, and it was such an encouraging message for Clark from the more than three hundred friends and fans who attended.

Although Clark’s impaired vision prohibited him from seeing what was being shown here via Skype, we sat together as emcee David Demsey announced the first tune which was one of Clark’s original compositions – “The Snapper.”

Clark asked me, “Is that a video?” I told him that it was live from Saint Peter’s Church. He asked several more times, and when it finally dawned on him that it was all true, he began wiping tears from his eyes, as did I.

After he was able to compose himself, he said, “That is unbelievable! All of them are really there?” I assured him that they were. He didn’t say anything else for about an hour, as he listened intensely to every note that was played. Then he said, “This is unbelievable. It’s so beautiful!”

For more photos of the event, please click here. If you have photos that you’d like to share, please post a comment and a link at the end of this blog. We’ve love to see your photos!

Much appreciated donations are still coming in to the Jazz Foundation of America, either by mail at 322 W. 48th Street, New York, NY 10036 with “Clark Terry Account” on the memo line of the donation checks, or on online at www.jazzfoundation.org/memory_honor. Please be sure to designate your donation by putting the name – Clark Terry – in the window at the bottom of the Jazz Foundation’s donation page. We are very, very grateful for your kind generosity.

JFA is a dedicated organization that helps jazz musicians in need. Clark was very instrumental in helping JFA to become established in the early ‘90’s, never imagining that he would need their support. His ability to work has steadily declined since his heart attack in 2008, and with the recent amputation of his legs, his required 24-hour home health care costs have skyrocketed.

Wendy Oxenhorn, Executive Director for JFA, said, “Many musicians who find themselves in need may be hesitant to reach out for help, but we want them to feel free to contact us. They’ve given so much to the world of jazz, and we’re here to help them in times of need. That’s our mission.”

JFA will disburse a portion of the fundraiser donations each week to pay for Clark’s medical expenses that are not covered by his primary nor supplementary insurance. These expenses include his home health aides who help to provide 24-hour care, medical supplies, over-the-counter medication, and co-payment costs for prescription drugs.

From our hearts, we truly appreciate all of the generous donations, and the following people for their love and support in helping to make Clark’s fundraiser a tremendous success:

Production Team Members Appreciation

  • Saint Peter’s Jazz Ministry: Lynne Mueller and Connie Peterson for their talent and constant commitment in co-chairing the production team; Pastors A.J. Derr and Dale Lind for prayers, promotional assistance, and for donating such a beautiful venue; Andy Rowan and Ike Sturm for their organizational skills; Russ Dantzler as stage manager; Scott Young as sound and Skype engineer, and his assistant, Ben Fedak; Sarah McLawler for providing the organ music after the photo shoot and before the concert; and the many support staff members for being such gracious hosts -
  • Jazz Foundation of America: Wendy Oxenhorn and Alisa Hafkin and for their assistance in coordinating the receipt of the many, many donations that were sent through JFA to help Clark; for their promotional assistance; Joe Petrucelli for being the evening’s treasurer, and Marianne Pillsbury for designing the event programs.
  • Our emcee David Demsey, and Marcus McLaurine both as our Music and Musician Coordinators, and for donating their talents as performing musicians.
  • Ray Carman from the Duke Ellington Society, and Jackie Lennon from the International Women in Jazz for sharing their expertise, promotional assistance, and for providing us with volunteers.

Additional Appreciation

  • The wonderful volunteers from many organizations who gave their time to fill various needs.
  • Alan Hicks and Quincy Cavers for donating their skills as our technicians for the Skype broadcast from Pine Bluff.
  • Lois Gilbert at JazzCorner.com; Jim Eigo at JazzPromoServices.com; Jack Goodstein at www.seattlepi.com; friends at WBGO and the New York Times for donating their promotional assistance.
  • Ed Berger and Donya Kato for donating their photography services
  • Tad Hershorn for donating his photos for the “Legend Wall” at Saint Peter’s Church
  • All of our gracious friends and fans who attended the concert and shared their love
  • And we thank God for blessing us with so many caring and loving friends, and for sending His angels on earth to help Clark!

You have all made him happier than you could ever imagine, and given him so much encouragement to continue his quest to teach on Skype, and to “keep on keepin’ on!”

Blessings and love,
Gwen

| happenings | 4 Comments

That’s Beautiful!

“Really? Read it again!” That was Clark’s response when I read a list of more than fifty stellar musicians who will perform at a fundraiser to help defray medical expenses for him. The event is on next Monday, April 23rd, 7:00 p.m., at Saint Peter’s Church in Manhattan. The address is 619 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022, and the suggested donation is $25 at the door.

This exciting concert is being produced by the Saint Peter’s Jazz Ministry, International Women in Jazz, the Duke Ellington Society, the Jazz Foundation of America, Clark’s musician friends, dozens of volunteers, and me. We are extremely grateful to everyone for their love, prayers and support.

We truly appreciate The Jazz Foundation of America for helping us with the astromonical expenses for 24-hour healthcare that Clark needs here at home. JFA is truly a God-send! If you aren’t able to attend the fundraiser, and would like to make a donation, you may write a check with “Clark Terry Account” on the memo line, and mail your donation to: Jazz Foundation of America, 322 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036. Or if you’d like to donate online, please use the following JFA link: http://jazzfoundation.org/memory_honor

David Demsey is here visiting Clark at home. David is the emcee for the upcoming concert, and one of the performing musicians. He said, “This list reads like a “Who’s Who” in Jazz! It’s absolutely incredible!” Dr. D.D. (Clark’s nickname for him) is Coordinator of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University, and Curator of the William Paterson Living Jazz Archives, which contains The Clark Terry Archive, along with archives of Thad Jones and James Williams. David also wrote the Introduction in Clark’s autobiography. For more information about David, please click here.

After the third time that I read the list to Clark – his musician friends who are donating their performances for his fundraiser – he said, “Man, that’s beautiful! I feel so fortunate.” When he and David talked more about it, Clark said, “I wish I could be there in person, but I’ll be there.” We’re both planning to make a brief appearance via Skype during the event.

The outpouring of love from his friends on the list has lifted Clark’s spirit so much that his appetite has returned. He’s now gaining some of the weight that he’d lost while taking pain medication during recent months. I’m happy to report that his pain has diminished.

The beloved musicians who are donating their performance for next Monday’s concert include: Clifford Adams, Jr., Carl Allen, Lisle Atkinson, Art Baron, Gene Bertoncini, Valerie Capers, Paquito D’Rivera, Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Sylvia Cuenca, Dee Daniels, Bryan Davis, David Demsey, Lou Donaldson, Mark Elf, Essiet Essiet, Don Friedman, Greg Gisbert, Dave Glasser, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Winard Harper, Barry Harris, Louis Hayes, Jimmy Heath, Conrad Herwig, Jack Jeffers, Melba Joyce, Justin Kauflin, Stantawn Kendrick, Bob Kindred, Victor Lewis, Tony Lujan, Russell Malone, Sarah McLawler, Marcus McLaurine, Junior Mance, Mulgrew Miller, Shawnn Monteiro, Frank Owens, Jimmy Owens, Jeremy Pelt, Anne Phillips, Rufus Reid, Bill Saxton, Josh Shpak, Don Sickler, Norman Simmons, John Simon, Lew Soloff, Helen Sung, Frank Wess, and the list is still growing. There will be surprise guests, too!

For more information, please click to see the flyer.

I’ve read him all of your messages on his website, and he always loves hearing them. He said, “Sometimes, when I’m not feeling my best, I think about how everybody is still pulling for me, and it helps me to feel better. I thank everybody, and I thank God!”

Recently, Clark went for a follow-up visit with his vascular surgeon, Dr. Heather LeBlanc. She said, “The amputation sight on his right leg (mid-thigh) has healed completely, and the left one (above the knee) is doing fantastically well.” Primary care physician, Dr. Simmie Armstrong, is also pleased with Clark’s progress. He said, “We still have to focus on protection, and no infection.”

Clark’s physical therapist works with him five times a week here at home, and visiting nurses are attending his left leg wound three times a week. He said, “They’ve been telling me that things are cooling out. It’s been a long journey with ‘strange changes.’ I’ve had some good days and some bad days, but I’m glad to still have days.”

Jon Faddis came to spend some time with Clark, while in Arkansas for a clinic and concert at Central High School in Little Rock. They spent quite a while together, laughing, reminiscing and discussing Clark’s book. Jon said, “I loved your book! When I read the passage where you talked about one of the albums that we did together – Take Double – I wondered if you remembered those slippery wings on that plane when we did the photo shoot for the cover? They had to put rubber strips on the bottoms of our shoes to keep us from sliding off.” Clark laughed and said, “I had forgotten about the rubber strips.” For more information about Jon Faddis, please click here.

Jon Faddis and Clark

Jon Faddis and Clark. (photo by Quincy Cavers)

During David Demsey’s visit, they discussed the newly released Terry Tunes book which is a compilation of some of Clark’s compositions, information on Clark’s “doodle-tonguing” technique, and more. They worked on this book for many years, along with Stjepko Gut and others, and they’ve gotten some wonderful comments about it. Visit the Terry Tunes page for more info.

As Clark and David discussed the Clark Terry Archive at WPU, David reported, “We’re excited about the archive website! We’re working hard to get it done, and it’s going to be great. We’ve got some incredible photos that can give you the feeling that you’re there in person.” As soon as the website is completed, we’ll be sure to let you know.

Later, they talked about the Skype lessons for which Clark is preparing. He asked for his trumpet and said, “I’m having a little arthritis trouble with my hands, but I’m doing my best.” Below is a photo of Clark and David.

Clark and Dr D.D. (photo by Quincy Cavers)

Clark and I thank you all so much for your kindness and encouragement. Although it’s been quite challenging, he’s come a long way, and your love has played an integral part.

Blessings and love,
Gwen

| general | 31 Comments

Fundraising Concert for Clark Terry

CLARK TERRY FUNDRAISING EVENT
MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2012 – 7pm

Saint Peter’s Church
619 Lexington Ave, New York, NY
212 935 2200
www.saintpeters.org/events

Gwen Terry, The Duke Ellington Society, International Women in Jazz, Jazz Foundation of America and Saint Peter’s Church – Jazz Ministry are partnering to produce a fundraiser for Clark Terry on Monday, April 23 at 7 PM at Saint Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street, New York City.

Over 30 musicians will perform for their colleague, Clark Terry, to raise funds to help defray Clark’s medical expenses. Clark Terry plans to appear at the event via Skype.

Suggested donation is $25 at the door.

Checks should be written to Jazz Foundation of America with “Clark Terry account” in the memo line.

Donations can also be sent to: Jazz Foundation of America, 322 W. 48th Street, New York, NY 10036. (212) 245-3999.

| happenings | 17 Comments

All The Love

Clark is home! His primary care physician, Dr. Simmie Armstrong, arranged for him to have professional physical therapy for five days a week here at home, along with homecare visits from nurses three times a week. The amputation site on his left leg is healing, and the right one is completely well. He’s experiencing some pain, but other than that, he said, “It gets pretty tough sometimes, but I’m hanging on in there. And I’m thanking Big Prez (his nickname for God) for every day.”

He was talking on the phone with one of his friends who expressed how sorry he was that Clark had gone through so much – losing his legs and all. Clark responded, “Don’t worry, just keep pulling for me.”

On one of his particularly challenging days, I asked what would help him to feel better. He said, “Love. All the love from you and everybody. It makes me feel like you all still need me.”

You can see how much you mean to him. Each message that you post, and all of your prayers, phone calls, cards, and visits have helped to give him the courage to “keep on keepin’ on.” We appreciate you all so very much, and we hope that you’ll stay in touch.

His friend Bob Montgomery came from Denver to visit. Between doses of Clark’s pain medication, they talked about Clark’s book, reminisced about their road trips when Bob played trumpet in Clark’s Big Bad Band, and the years that Bob organized, supervised and participated in the Clark Terry Jazz Camps that were held in Oklahoma and Kansas.

Bob said, “I remember those long bus rides when I was in his band. I sat across the aisle from him, and when I’d doze off, he’d wake me up so we could talk. I loved traveling with him. He told some great stories, and a lot of them are in his autobiography. It’s a great book!”

I left them alone for a while, and when I went back to see if they needed anything, Bob and Clark were all smiles. Bob said, “He sang all of the words to ‘Squeeze Me,’ and he was buzzing a little (a lip-vibration exercise for strengthening chops). He went on to say, “Clark still has a perfect embouchure, and his mind is as sharp as ever.” For more information about Bob, please visit: www.dmamusic.org/bobmontgomery

Here’s a photo (left to right) of Bob, Clark and Quincy Cavers who is one of Clark’s students, a travel assistant, and one of his home health aides.

When Clark is able, he’s looking forward to teaching his students in person and via Skype. Last September, prior to the barrage of challenges with his legs, he enjoyed giving his first Skype lesson to a student in Australia. He said, “That computer is something else, man! I was here and he was there. A real talented kid. Plays trumpet. He learned how to ‘doodle-tongue’ in thirty minutes. It was great!”

Clark is getting stronger daily, and we are forever grateful for your love. Please keep him in your prayers.

Blessings,
Gwen

| general | 23 Comments