[Dixielandjazz] Clark Terry

ROBERT R. CALDER serapion at btinternet.com
Tue Mar 3 05:26:00 PST 2009

I owe Marek a response to a mail which my computer seems to have eaten --  but he needn't feel ashamed at liking Clark Terry, who is a St. Louis trumpeter of the St. Louis school, playing in a style which is all flow, and happy to reminisce about Dewey Jackson and Baby James, the latter of whom was for some time referred to tentatively by enthusiasts as Baby Jay, because the spoken encouragements of a lady singer he was accompanying on a 1920s recording was misheard. To judge from Dewey Jackson on the Don Ewell gig taped by Bob Koester the method of approach wasn't to hit dramatic accents in standard lead trumpet manner, but to produce kicks of harmonic interference with the other players by (very much virtuoso!) playing around and against the chord changes, with now and then a ritard or acceleration, or even a Lester-Youngish sudden strange interval. References to Lester's variations of sound when soloing at greater length than could be recorded in the
 1930s do rather chime with mentions of the variety of sounds Baby James achieved with mutes -- a little like what Jabbo Smith did with Ellington on "Black and Tan Fantasy" .  I've been fascinated by this particular archaeological question since I read an essay on New Orleans Trumpet by John Postgate in Jazz Monthly three or four decades ago. 
Hardly surprising that Clark made such sweet music with Mr. Traditionalism Revisited Brookmeyer (beloved of Roy Williams) especially with Roger Kellaway playing stride piano, before non-musical problems separated the hornmen. 


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