Jazz lovers came out in droves to the homegoing of famed jazz trumpeter Clark Terry. The service took place at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, after Terry “peacefully went home to God on Saturday, Feb. 21 in Pine Bluff, Ark., surrounded by his family, students and friends.”
He was known internationally for his signature musicianship and gratitude for his love from many. For nearly half a century, Terry’s greatest passion was helping to make young musicians’ dreams come true. He was a tremendous source of inspiration, love, respect, decency and human rights. He was one of the first recruits of the United States Navy when Black musicians were given the rating of musician in 1942. From being one of the few musicians who played as a featured soloist in both the Count Basie and the Duke Ellington orchestras, to being the first Black staff musician at NBC, Terry had multiple bands, including big bands, youth bands and other ensembles. He was one of the most recorded jazz musicians in history, appearing on more than 900 albums.
Terry’s devotion to mentoring young musicians influenced the lives of worldwide master talents such as Quincy Jones, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis and Dianne Reeves, among countless others. Clark inspired everyone by example. As he was quoted in the documentary about his life and love for mentoring students, “Keep on Keepin’ On,” “Your mind is a powerful asset. Use it for positive thoughts and you’ll learn what I’ve learned. I call it getting on the plateau of positivity.”
Terry will be laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery after the service. Funeral services have been entrusted to P.K. Miller Mortuary, Pine Bluff, Ark., and George H. Weldon Funeral Home, New York City.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Jazz Foundation of America, which has helped over the years to make sure that Terry’s needs were met. They add that donations be made “In Honor of Clark Terry” to help them continue this work.