Thursday, February 02, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Clark Terry

Artist:Clark Terry
Song:Donna Lee
DVD:Norman Granz Jazz In Montreux: Clark Terry Sextet '77

Clark Terry is one of the all time jazz greats and a pioneer in the use of the flugelhorn in jazz. He is also a noted educator. But the bottom line is Terry is one of the most fun guys to listen to in jazz. He was born Dec. 14, 1920 in St. Louis. He started playing local clubs in the early 40s and played in the US Navy band during WWII. After the war, he played with Charlie Barnet and then three years with Count Basie. But Terry really established himself with Duke Ellington from 1951-59. He may have been the first trumpet player to switch to the flugelhorn and by the 60s played the flugelhorn exclusively. Miles Davis liked Terry's playing so much that he switched to the flugelhorn and so did Quincy Jones. Terry started recording as a solo artist in 1955. Terry's version of the Charlie Parker song Donna Lee is from the 1957 album Serenade To A Bus Seat with Johnny Griffin on tenor sax, Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums. This Riverside Records release is available as a budget CD. Terry left Ellington for Quincy Jones in 1959 and then became a member of The Tonight Show band. He was in that band for ten years. He also became known for his "mumble" scat singing. I think that started as a joke and got a little out of control. Terry led a band with Bob Brookmeyer and continued to record as a solo artist and a sideman. In the 70s, Terry recorded for Norman Granz's label Pablo. Granz filmed some concerts at the 1977 Montreux Jazz Festival but never released them. Eagle Vison took care of that in 2005. This version of Donna Lee is from that DVD featuring a killer all star band of Oscar Peterson on piano, Milt Jackson on vibes, Joe Pass on guitar, Ronnie Scott on tenor sax, Neils Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass and Bobby Durham on drums. You can't beat that. Clark Terry last recorded in 2005 but he continues to be a great ambassador for jazz. Along with Milt Hinton, he founded the Mobile Jazz program in Harlem that donates musical instruments to young people who would not be able to afford them otherwise. And he has been presenting the Clark Terry Jazz Festivals since 2000. Terry and his wife currently live in Pine Bluff, AR and he still tours the jazz festival circuit. Here's Clark Terry performing Donna Lee at the 1977 Montreux Jazz Festival from the DVD Clark Terry Sextet '77.

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