Update: Services for Clark will be held on Saturday February 28th at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, 10am. In lieu of flowers Gwen and the Terry family ask that donations be made to the Jazz Foundation of America "In Honor of Clark Terry". You can also leave your messages of love on Clark's website: www.clarkterry.com/guestbook
Clark Terry was the definition of brilliant. He was one of the best people I’ve ever been privileged enough to know. I have grown up with the honour of knowing some of the greatest human beings in the world and Clark will always be at the top of that list. He was my Godfather, my friend, and my family. The ironic part of the pain so many around the world are feeling with the news of his passing, is that Clark never wanted anybody to be sad. He spent his life playing music to make people happy.
There will be many days of reflection coming up for myself and everyone who loved him so dearly. One of the first thoughts that came to my head was how thrilled I was that Keep On Keepin' On has had such a warm reception since it’s release and that Clark was able to witness that. His story is such an important one that needs to be told and shared with the world. Many people who knew his music, did not know his personal history. The film also gave those who were not familiar with his career, a chance to be introduced to his music through Clark Terry, the man.
For me personally, I will struggle with the fact that I won’t hear his voice. When my Dad passed, one of the hardest things for me was that I didn’t hear his voice anymore. To this day, that is one of the most difficult things to live with. Clark’s voice was always filled with love. His laugh was contagious. I felt comforted when I spoke to him. A simple “hey baby” was all I needed to turn a miserable day into a wonderful one. I took a comfort in knowing Uncle Clark was there. He still is. Just in a different way.
Clark Terry changed my world. He made it better. He made it brighter. He made it happier. Most importantly, he made it more beautiful. Throughout my entire life Clark and Gwen have shown me unconditional love and endless support. Gwen, myself and so many others are here for you now. Uncle Clark my love for you is never ending. Thank you for everything. I will carry you with me every day and because I know you would tell me to, I will Keep On Keepin’ On. - Céline Peterson