Known as both a trumpet and flugelhorn stylist, Clark Terry may be one of the nicest men in jazz. He also essentially introduced the flugelhorn to jazz back in the 1950s.
Born on Dec. 14, 1920 in St. Louis, Terry starting out playing with local bands, Terry gained more exposure during World War II with a relatively famous Navy band.
After work with Lionel Hampton, he went on to play with a number of well-known bands for many years, including Charlie Barnet (1947-'48), Count Basie (1948-'51), Duke Ellington (1951-'59) and Quincy Jones (1959-'60).
From 1960-'72, Terry could be seen by millions of television viewers, as he appeared as one of the first black musicians employed by a TV house band as a member of the Doc Severinsen band on the Tonight Show. A Terry feature that many saw was his "Mumbles" vocal specialty.
During this period, Terry also kept busy with session work and as a co-leader of a quintet with Bob Brookmeyer. Since the 1960s, he has led his own big band and become a regular at jazz education clinics and workshops. Terry's great level of musicianship, combined with his outgoing, congenial personality, have combined to make him one of jazz's top ambassadors over the past 10 years or so.
Recordings of note include: Having Fun (Delos, 1990), Memories Of Duke (Original Jazz Classics, 1980), Ain't Misbehavin' (Pablo, 1976), Cingerbread (with Bob Brookmeyer, Mainstream, c. 1966), Color Changes (Candid, 1960), In Orbit (with Thelonious Monk, Original Jazz Classics, 1958) and Serenade To A Bus Seat (Original Jazz Classics, 1957). As a sideman: The Oscar Peterson Trio With Clark Terry (Mercury, 1964),'63 Concert Jazz Band (with Gerry Mulligan, Verve, 1962) and New York City R6B (with Cecil Taylor, Buell Neidlinger, Candid).