Clark Terry (born December 14, 1920), is an American swing and bop trumpeter, a pioneer of the fluegelhorn in jazz, educator, and NEA Jazz Masters inductee.
Clark Terry was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended Vashon High School there and began his professional career in the early 1940s by playing in local clubs before joining a Navy band during World War II. Afterwards, he played with Charlie Barnet (1947), Count Basie (1948 to 1951), Duke Ellington (1951 to 1959), and Quincy Jones (1960). He also performed and recorded regularly both as a leader and sideman. In all, his career in jazz spans more than sixty years.
His years with Basie and Ellington in the late 1940s and 1950s established him as a world-class jazz artist. Blending the St. Louis tone of his youth with contemporary styles, Terryâ€™s sound influenced a generation. During this period, Terry took part in many of Ellington's suites and acquired a lasting reputation for his wide range of styles (from swing to hard bop), technical proficiency, and infectious good humor. In addition to his outstanding musical contribution to these bands, Terry exerted a positive influence on musicians such as Miles Davis and Quincy Jones, both of whom credit Clark as a formidable influence during the early stages of their careers. (Terry had informally taught Davis while they were still in St Louis.)