On Saturday, June 27 from 1:00-3:00 p.m., the bi-monthly jazz education program at Westminster Church, Thinking About Jazz, celebrates the life of master trumpeter, Clark Terry. In addition to being thought of as “the best trumpeter around” by none other than Dizzy Gillespie, Terry was a pioneer in jazz education whose students at William Paterson University in New Jersey created and starred in a documentary about their beloved teacher and mentor.

The documentary, Keep On Keepin’ On, by Terry student Al Hicks, writer and director, and his partner Davis Coombe, director of photography, explores the mentorship between Terry and one of his last students, blind prodigy Justin Kauflin of Virginia Beach, VA. Producer Quincy Jones and distributor Harvey Weinstein bolstered this award-winning film. Hicks came from Australia at 18 years of age to study music at William Paterson University and was convinced by Terry to stay in the U.S. later to become a member of Terry’s band. His ongoing affection and fascination with Terry and his ability to teach and communicate inspired him to write the film which received early funding from Kickstarter.

Clark Terry was born in St. Louis, MO, on Dec. 10, 1920 and started out in Count Basie’s band, which he recalls as prep school for the University of Ellingtonia where he subsequently played through the 1950s.  He also became the first African American hired as a full-time television musician when he played on air for the “Tonight Show.” His accomplishments include a method known as “doodle-tonguing” which he developed to teach scat singing and for which he wrote the song “Mumbles” that always brings both chuckles and full-bellied laughter when it is performed. Mr. Terry passed at age 95 on February 21 of this year.

Please join us as we celebrate the great Clark Terry beginning at Jazz Night on June 26 (6:00-9:00 p.m., admission $5) with Justin Kauflin leading his jazz ensemble performing a musical tribute to his mentor. Then, Saturday, June 27 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Kauflin again will be present to offer his reflections on the legacy of the master trumpeter with audio and video examples of his genius. Westminster Church is located at 400 I (Eye) Street SW, one block from the Waterfront Metro stop on the green line. Parking is available in the church lot and on the surrounding streets. Admission, lunch, door prizes, and great conversation are all free.

By: Rev. Brian Hamilton

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