ROCHESTER, NY — One of the greatest jazz musicians of all time — trumpeter Clark Terry — pays a special visit to the Eastman School of Music later this month. In a rare Rochester appearance, the 84-year-old elder statesman of jazz will perform with the Eastman Jazz Ensemble (conducted by Bill Dobbins), several Eastman faculty members (Dobbins, Harold Danko, Jeff Campbell, and Rich Thompson), and his regular saxophone soloist, Eastman alumnus Dave Glasser.
The concert ― made possible in part with support from the Will Moyle Fund ― will take place at 8 p.m., Friday, February 25, in Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.). It will feature the Jazz Ensemble performing music by Stan Kenton, trombonist and drummer Dee Barton, pianist and composer Pat Pace, and a Dobbins orchestration of a Bill Holman work, Jazz in D Minor. In addition to the small group selections with faculty, Terry will play several Dobbins arrangements of his tunes that were written especially for his September 1994 concert with the WDR Big Band in Germany.
“I have always been a huge fan of Clark Terry, who has been a great source of encouragement and support to me ― and to countless aspiring jazz musicians throughout his illustrious career,” said Dobbins, professor of jazz studies at Eastman who has known Terry personally since 1967. “In fact, it was largely through his recommendation to Rayburn Wright that I was considered a candidate for the full-time position at the Eastman School, which initially brought me and my family to Rochester in 1973. Clark has been a guest artist with the Eastman Jazz Ensemble several times and, when I decided to accept the offer to direct the WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany, in 1994, I arranged to have Clark appear as guest soloist for my first official concert as the new director. Since returning to Eastman in 2002, one of my top priorities was to arrange for Clark to return once again, and I’m really excited to give the Eastman community the priceless opportunity to experience his unique gifts as both musician and human being.”
An active soloist, recording artist, bandleader, composer, and educator for more than 60 years, Terry began playing in St. Louis, befriending and mentoring the young Miles Davis. After lending his distinctive sound to the Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Quincy Jones Orchestras, Terry became one of the first African-American musicians to be regularly seen on a television studio orchestra as a member of Doc Severinsen’s band on The Tonight Show with the recently deceased Johnny Carson. It was there that he gained fame with his “Mumbles” routine, a hilarious scat-singing improvisation.
During the 1960s, Terry co-led a prolific jazz quintet with trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, touring and recording often. Since that time he has maintained his own big band and makes frequent appearances at jazz education camps and workshops, including a yearly “Clark Terry Jazz Festival” at the University of New Hampshire. His latest recording, a new version of Porgy & Bess with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, is hailed by jazz critics as one of the best performances of the classic suite arranged by Gil Evans for Miles Davis.
“It’s an absolute honor and thrill to welcome Clark Terry to Eastman, and for our students to have the chance to play alongside him,” said Harold Danko, chair of Eastman’s Jazz and Contemporary Media department. “It’s also great to welcome Dave Glasser ‘home’ to Eastman.”
Saxophonist Dave Glasser, a member of the Clark Terry Quintet since 1995, received his master’s degree from the Eastman School in 1986. Since that time he has released three CDs under his own name and performed around the world with such jazz luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie, Barry Harris, and Illinois Jacquet.
General admission tickets for this concert are $7.50 (free to U/R ID holders). They are available in advance at the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Box Office (108 East Avenue), by phone at 454-2100, or online at www.rochester.edu/concerts. They also are available at any Rochester-area Wegmans Home Video department. Any unsold tickets may be purchased at the Eastman Theatre box office one hour before the concert.
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