Imitate, assimilate, and innovate.

Clark Terry

As we get closer to our benefit, we are going through our archives and reminiscing about some of the fantastic musicians who have been guests of the CJO in years past. This week, we’re learning a little more about a couple with whom we have shared the stage.

Clark Terry (1920 – 2015)

Trumpeter, flugelhorn player, composer, and educator Clark Terry was one of the sweetest jazz musicians in our history, and he could also swing as hard as anyone who ever picked up an instrument. Clark freely gave his love for people and the music to his audiences and especially to students and promising peers–players like Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, and countless others (including many members of the CJO!).

Clark’s unmistakable trumpet/flugelhorn (the latter he popularized) sounds were heard through his long tenures with the bands of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, The Tonight Show, and many, many others in small group settings. He was also a fabulous scat singer, and while there are some fine recorded examples of him doing his trademark “Mumbles,” to hear him scatting live was a singular experience. No one has been able to tell a story without actually using words while scatting like Clark Terry could.

In the late 80’s, the CJO had the good fortune of playing with him, and it can truly be said that there are few musicians who have left the legacy, or are as missed, as Clark Terry.


Slide Hampton (1932 – )

Trombonist, composer, and arranger Slide Hampton was born into a very musical family in which all twelve kids and both parents performed, and Hampton was on the road at age twelve with the Hampton family band. He is one of the few left-handed trombonists–when he first began to play, it was assembled backwards for him and he never bothered to learn the instrument in the conventional way.

By the age of twenty, Hampton was performing with Lionel Hampton (no relation), and his career took off. He joined the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra from 1957-1959, and scribed some rather famous tunes of this era for this excellent big band–“Three Little Foxes,” “Slide’s Derangement,” and others.

After his time with Ferguson, Hampton was more of a freelancer and performed with Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, and Max Roach before forming his own octet in 1962.

Following a tour with the Woody Herman Orchestra, the late sixties and early seventies saw Hampton residing in Europe and playing with Dexter Gordon, Art Farmer, Kenny Clarke, and Kenny Drew. Upon returning stateside, he began teaching and leading various groups–big bands that won Grammys and a nine trombone ensemble with a rhythm section called World of Trombones.

Hampton is not only an outstanding writer and player (he is known to practice for eight hours a day), but is also very gracious with his gifts to others. Once upon a time, our Executive Director witnessed Hampton playing at a booth at an IAJE convention for three days, from the time the hall opened until it closed. He played tunes and gladly invited other trombonists to sit in with him and trade 4’s, without a rhythm section, in a very noisy environment. While he cut everyone (and there were some pretty fabulous players that sat in with him!), he was sweet to all who dared to play with him.

In the early 2000’s, the CJO was honored to have him as a guest artist, definitely a night to remember!


We enjoy sharing our positive thoughts, and swingin’ music, with you each week!