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On the death of a peerless jazz legend: Clark Terry 1920 - 2015

Clark Terry was a legend and is no more. The American jazz trumpeter died on Saturday at the age of 94. He began his musical career with jazz greats Count Basie and Duke Ellington, who soon recognised his extraordinary talent. He said of the two: "Count Basie was college, but Duke Ellington was graduate school."

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Davis, Jones, Gillespie

After his time with those influential jazz pioneers, Terry became the link between a new generation of musicians. Miles Davis, who was taught by Terry, saw in him a great role model. Quincy Jones is another admirer who still praises him as an inspiration. And Dizzy Gillespie called him the best trumpeter he had ever heard. His passion and skill for jazz also produced an unprecedented body of records.

IDFA

What else made Terry so special was his humour and his tireless enthusiasm to pass on knowledge to new generations of musicians. This inspiring side of Terry is beautifully portrayed in the documentary Keep on Keepin' on by Alan Hicks. The film was shown at IDFA in Amsterdam last year, where it won the award for best music documentary.

Beautiful and generous man

Keep On Keepin' On shows the very elderly and sick Terry who still has time for his students despite his deteriorating health. The film also shows the strong bond he builds with a young blind pianist who is his protégége. It is a portrait of a beautiful and generous man who has always wanted to share his love of music. Sadly, Clark Terry has now passed away, but he will live on in the illustrious pantheon of peerless jazz greats.

Keep On Keepin' On  can be seen in cinemas from 5 March 2015.

George Vermij

George Vermij is a cultural omnivore with a curious and critical eye. He studied art history and political science in Leiden and has an incurable film addiction. Besides Cultuurpers, he writes about film for Schokkend Nieuws, Gonzo Circus and In de bioscoop. For Tubelight, Metropolis M and Jegens & Tevens he writes about visual art.View Author posts

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