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Clark Terry's career in Jazz spans more than sixty years! He is a world-class trumpeter, flugelhornist, educator, and NEA Jazz Master. He has been featured in over fifty jazz festivals on all seven continents. He received a Grammy Award, two Grammy certificates, three Grammy nominations, thirteen honorary doctorates, keys to cities, lifetime achievements and hall of fame awards.
His career as both a leader and a sideman with more than three hundred recordings demonstrates that he is one of the luminaries in Jazz. Clark's discography reads like a "Who's Who In Jazz" with personnel that includes great artists like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Dinah Washington, Ben Webster, Charlie Barnet, Doc Severinsen, Ray Charles, Billy Strayhorn, Dexter Gordon, Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims, Milt Jackson, Bob Brookmeyer, Jon Faddis, and Dianne Reeves.
Clark Terry first heard about the Jazz Foundation of America because he had many friends in the jazz community who had sought help from the Foundation. Being the legend he is, Clark always had enough gigs, had been healthy, and never needed any assistance from the Foundation. Then, as can happen to the best of us, his health took a turn and we had the great privilege of being able to be there for Clark. Clark was at risk of having to go to a nursing home. His loving wife Gwen and the rest of us didn't want to see that happen to Clark, so the Jazz Foundation was able to provide him with a home health aide which allowed him to continue to live in his home.
Since 2000, Clark has hosted Clark Terry Jazz Festivals on land and sea and his own jazz camps. Prompted early in his career by Dr. Billy Taylor, Clark and Milt Hinton bought instruments for and gave instruction to young hopefuls, which planted the seed that became Jazz Mobile in Harlem. This venture tugged at Clark's greatest love: involving youth in the perpetuation of Jazz. Because Clark Terry was able to remain in his home and got proper care, he continues to share his jazz expertise and encourage students wholeheartedly.
One of the most beautiful things we were able to do for Clark was organize a reunion for him, after many years, with one of his most famous students, Quincy Jones. We surprised Quincy at an original Harlem nightclub, which we reserved just for him and his friends, giving him a night of down home gut bucket blues and jazz. Clark got a chance to see not only Quincy but friends and students he hadn't seen in ages.
Clark most recently appeared at the 2010 Grammy Awards to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.
"The Jazz Foundation of America is our ‘Jazz Angel on Earth'! Health challenges and Father Time have hampered my ability to play, and my medical expenses have skyrocketed. Without JFA's help in providing a home health aide, I wouldn't have been able to stay at home. I've watched them help so many great musicians over the years, and now they're helping me. It's the best thing I've ever heard of. Seriously. They've been such a blessing."