on 29 April 2015
Sadly, trumpeter Clark Terry departed this mortal coil recently. He left behind a marvellous body of work for us to remember him by. He was born in St Louis, Missouri, in December 1920 and had early experience playing on riverboats in St Louis before wartime service. After the war, he was with Lionel Hampton (briefly), Charlie Barnet and other leaders before working with Count Basie from 1948-51 (first with the big band and then, when Basie disbanded, with his small groups). But it was his spell with Duke Ellington from 1951-59 that brought him to greater prominence.
The earliest album here, “Introducing Clark Terry”, was his first full LP as leader, heading up a very strong septet including Jimmy Cleveland (tb), Cecil Payne (bs), a young Horace Silver (p) and Art Blakey (d). In 1956, Clark played on Thelonious Monk’s classic album “Brilliant Corners”, and Monk returned the favour on the cracking second album in this set, from 1958 – here listed as “Clark Terry Quartet with Thelonious Monk” but also issued under the title “In Orbit”. Clark plays flugelhorn here, and Sam Jones (b) and Philly Joe Jones (d) complete the quartet.
Clark was not, in fact, the leader on the other 2 albums in the set. From July 1960 comes a cracker with the feel of a jam session – “One Foot in the Gutter” - under the name of drummer Dave Bailey: just 3 tracks by a sextet including a front line of Junior Cook (ts) and Curtis Fuller (tb) alongside Clark, and Horace Parlan (p) and Peck Morrison (b). And, from March 1961, “It’s About Time” was issued under the name of fellow-Ellingtonian Jimmy Hamilton (ts, cl), leading a superb sextet with Clark (t, flhn), Britt Woodman (tb), Tommy Flanagan (p), Wendell Marshall (b) and Mel Lewis (d).