The great jazz trumpeter and flugelhorn player Clark Terry, who died last month at the age of 94, was not a native New Jerseyan. But he did work as an adjunct professor at the renowned jazz program at William Paterson University in Wayne for many years, and his archive of instruments, arrangements and memorabilia is hosted there.
Terry, whose long career included stints in both Count Basie’s and Duke Ellington’s bands, is shown below performing “Billie’s Bounce” at a Finnish jazz festival in 1988. Featured with him are two other musicians with strong New Jersey ties: saxophonist James Moody (1925–2010), who grew up in Newark, and for whom NJPAC’s annual TD James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival is named; and guitarist George Benson, who has lived for much of his life in Bergen County.
The Charlie Parker-written “Billie’s Bounce,” by the way, has nothing to do with Billie Holiday. Its title refers to Billie Miller, a woman who worked as a secretary for musicians’ agent Billy Shaw.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday last year. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we are marking the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. We started in September 2014, and will keep going until late in the summer.
If you would like to suggest any songs to be included, please let me know in the comments section underneath the video. And if you want to see the entire list, either alphabetically or in the order the songs were selected, click here.
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