Clark Terry, Legendary Trumpeter and Jazz Maestro, Dies at 94

By Ian Holubiak | Feb 22, 2015 06:19 PM EST
American jazz musician Clark Terry plays trumpet and flluegelhorn during a performance at the Jack Kleinsinger's Highlights in Jazz 'Salute to Jimmy Cobb' concert at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, New York, New York, March 10, 2005. (Photo : Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)

Perhaps one of the most popular and influential jazz musicians of his generation, Clark Terry, has passed away. An advocate of jazz education and beyond, he was a mighty 94 years old.

Terry was known as a jazz legend, who after seven decades of service to the cause, performed as a bandleader and collaborator with artists all the way from Quincy Jones and Duke Ellington to Count Basie and Charles Mingus.

Terry was recently presented with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. His death was announced Saturday by his wife, Gwen.

Complications from a long battle with diabetes is said to have been the cause.

Terry's wife wrote on the musician's official Facebook, "Our beloved Clark Terry has joined the big band in heaven where he'll be singing and playing with the angels. He left us peacefully, surrounded by his family, students and friends."

It continued, "Clark has known and played with so many amazing people in his life. He has found great joy in his friendships and his greatest passion was spending time with his students. We will miss him every minute of every day, but he will live on through the beautiful music and positivity that he gave to the world. Clark will live in our hearts forever."

Born in St. Louis, Terry began his career as a sideman to Count Basie and Duke Ellington before his stint as a bandleader in 1955. His career covered various subgenres including scat, swing, bebop, big band and more.

Terry also made frequent appearances on The Tonight Show, where he parlayed his talents into a decade-long gig as a member of the band.

Along with major contributions to the craft, he also advocated jazz in music education. As a serious trumpeter, he spent several years teaching the art of jazz to countless students. He also starred in the 2014 documentary, Keep On Keepin' On, which chronicled the musician mentoring the blind prodigy, Justin Kaulfin.

Clark will forever be a heavyweight in the jazz community and a beloved musician to all.

Check him out below.

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