Saturday, November 16, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Clark Terry still needs help

With the pace of touring acts coming to St. Louis slowing a bit for the next couple of weeks, today we'd like to use this space to remind you that the legendary trumpeter, jazz Hall-of-Famer, and St. Louis native Clark Terry still is in need of help from his many fans and friends.

To recap: Terry, who turns 93 next month, has had serious health problems in recent years, including the loss of both legs to diabetes. He remains in good spirits and still is able to enjoy a good quality of life with his wife Gwen at their home in Pine Bluff, AR. However, to remain at home, Terry needs daily help from a skilled home health care worker, which costs nearly $6,000 per month and is not covered by insurance.

So, earlier this year friends and fans launched a fund-raising campaign to help pay for Terry's care. There's a donation page on Terry's website that offers several ways that fans and friends can help, including tax-deductible donations to a fund designated for Terry at the Jazz Foundation of America, and direct donations to Terry via PayPal or mail.

One might say that it's time for some "Pennies from Heaven," which just happens to be the song in the first video window up above. Recorded in 1977 at the Montreux Jazz Festival, it features Terry on fluegelhorn with an all-star ensemble including Ronnie Scott (tenor sax), Joe Pass (guitar), Oscar Peterson (piano), Milt Jackson (vibes), Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (bass), and Bobby Durham (drums).

Down below, we've got several more examples of Clark Terry doing what he does best, starting with a 1978 recording from his Big Bad Band called "Tee Pee Time." While the post on YouTube doesn't specify the video's origin, the lineup of musicians in addition to Terry includes Greg Bobulinski, Willy Cook, Mike Vax, and Willy Singleton (trumpets); Sonny Costanzo, John Gordon, Dee-Dee Shirley, and Chuck Connors (trombones); Chris Woods, Charles Williams, Bill Saxton, Hermann Bell, and Charles Davis (saxophones); Hilton Ruiz (piano), Victor Sproles (bass), and Ed Soph (drums).

Below that, we go back to 1959 to see Terry teaming up with Phil Woods to play "Straight No Chaser" for a TV broadcast in the Netherlands. Also on hand are Sahib Shihab (flute, tenor sax), Quentin "Butter" Jackson (trombone), Patty Bown (piano), Buddy Catlett (bass), and Joe Morris (drums).

Next are Terry and bassist Red Mitchell, dueting on the Duke Ellington standard "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing" in a clip that looks to be from sometime in the 1990s.

Exploring Terry's Ducal connection a bit further, the fifth clip features the Ellington orchestra in a 1958 Italian TV broadcast playing the trumpet section feature "El Gato." And it's quite a trumpet section, too: Terry, William "Cat" Anderson (for whom the piece was named), Ray Nance, and another St. Louis native, Harold "Shorty" Baker.

The sixth clip is another version of Terry's signature song "Mumbles," in which he sings to and gets sassed by no less a personage than the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin. While Aretha seems a little unclear on the concept of "trading fours," she and Terry clearly are having fun in this performance from 2001 that also features Herbie Hancock, Russell Malone, Ron Carter, Roy Haynes, and James Carter.

To wrap up, we've got a bonus lucky seventh video of a master class that Terry gave in 2004 at New York University, in which he talks, plays, teaches, and shows once again why he's a national treasure.

For more about Clark Terry, check out his website, linked above, and StLJN's extensive past coverage here. You also may enjoy this audio interview with Terry, retrieved from the vaults by jazz journalist Chip Stern and published this past week on his new website Radio Free Chip.

If you're able to help, now's the time to step up and show some support for one of the greatest musicians ever to come from St. Louis. If you can't make a financial contribution, please spread the word about the fund-raising campaign and the link:

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