The irrepressible Clark Terry was a spry seventy–seven years old when this “Jazz Matinee” was recorded three years ago in Stuttgart, Germany. To hear him — on trumpet, flugelhorn or singing — is to summon forth images of a much younger man, so infectious is his boundless energy and unfailing good humor. About the latter, drummer Louie Bellson once said: “There has to be something wrong with anybody who can’t get along with Clark Terry.” As to his playing, Miles Davis called him “one of the best trumpeters in the world, if not the very best,” an assessment seconded by Dizzy Gillespie, who observed that “[Terry’s] flexibility and versatility make him one of the greatest. He can swing, he knows how to bop, he can do whatever he wants with his horn.” What he wants to do on this colorful session with the world–class SWR Big Band is entertain the rapt audience with a series of typically resourceful solos, which he does with relative ease, and with his engaging vocals on “Just Squeeze Me” and the amusing “Mumbles Returns” (on which one would almost swear he’s speaking an actual “language” that hasn’t yet been codified). Never comfortable on the sidelines, Terry solos on every number and shoulders the entire load on “Squeeze Me,” Ellington’s “Come Sunday” and Dave Slonaker’s “C.T.’s Express.” Elsewhere, he’s aided and abetted by a number of the ensemble’s top–drawer improvisers — saxophonists Rainer Heute, Andy Maile, Peter Weniger, Klaus Graf and Bernd Rabe; trumpeters Claus Reichstaller and Karl Farrent; trombonists Ian Cumming and Marc Godfroid, pianist Klaus Wagenleiter and bassist Decebal Badila. To show the versatility alluded to by Gillespie, Terry places his flugel in one hand, muted trumpet in the other and plays “against” himself on the scampering “Tee Pee Time,” then goes into the trenches to engage in hand–to–horn combat with Graf, Farrent and Reichstaller on Alan Foust’s funky “Cold Tater Stomp.” The SWR Big Band, powered by its superb rhythm section (Wagenleiter, Badila and drummer Jörg Gebhardt), swings audaciously from first note to last on this generously timed (72:06) concert date. With so many of Jazz’s acknowledged giants having left us, we are indeed fortunate that Clark Terry is still here. Now 80, he was diagnosed recently with colon cancer, which is no laughing matter. We are certain that we echo the sentiments of everyone in the Jazz community in wishing one of the great masters of trumpet and humor a swift and complete recovery.
Track Listing: The Zinger; Easy Does It; Come Sunday; A Penny for Your Thoughts; Jenny; C.T.
Personnel: Clark Terry, conductor, trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals; Thomas Vogel, Claus Reichstaller, Karl Farrent, Rudi Reindl, trumpet; Ernst Hutter, Marc Godfroid, Ian Cumming, Georg Maus, trombone; Bernd Rabe, Klaus Graf, alto sax; Peter Weninger, tenor, soprano sax; Andreas Maile, tenor sax; Rainer Heute, baritone sax; Klaus Wagenleiter, piano; Decebal Badila, bass; J
Year Released: 2002
| Record Label: Faszination Musik
| Style: Big Band
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.