Thursday, January 21, 2010

Overdue honor at Grammys

Amid all of the deserved, but lingering, attention that will be heaped upon the Michael Jackson legacy at the 52nd annual Grammy Awards on January 31, there will be some attention paid to JAZZ.

Trumpeter Clark Terry, 89, will receive the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award. Other lifetime honorees this year are Leonard Cohen, Bobby Darin, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Michael Jackson, Loretta Lynn and André Previn.

They will be feted at a special ceremony the night before the Grammys 'main event, but will be acknowledged in the telecast. You can bet Jackson will get far more attention than the others - or any of winners in the competitive categories. That's just the way it is.

The Terry honor is richly deserved for a life's work spanning more than 60 years of creativity on trumpet and fluegelhorn, as well as composing, bandleading, great sense of humor and mumbling - his zany and charming "Mumbles" twist on scatting that became a highlight when he was a resident member of NBC's "Tonight Show" band - where he helped break the network's musician color barrier.

Among his many prior honors , the Black World History Museum in his hometown of St. Louis features a life-sized wax figure.

In the heyday of big bands, Terry passed through or was a fixture in many of them - including the bands of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Charlie Barnet, Doc Severinsen, Lionel Hampton and much later, his own big band on occasion.

So here come the Grammys, a great way to jump start Clark Terry's 90th birthday year.

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