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Clark Terry: Clark After Dark: The Ballad Album

Album Remarks & Appraisals:

Trumpeter Clark Terry legitimized the flugelhorn as a front-line instrument in jazz. Possessing a golden-warm, crystal-pure sound and prodigious technique, he worked with the Ellington and Basie Bands as well as most of the major players of the last 50 years, participating in over 900 recordings. Terry was also an important mentor to the likes of the young Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, and Quincy Jones. In 2010 he received a Grammy for life-time achievement. This amazing album has Terry backed by a 50-piece orchestra featuring the cream of London's session musicians, including 28 strings. The album contains 12 classic ballads. For instance: Nature Boy with it's richly woven orchestral tapestry of lush, dark harmonies, and Willow Weep For Me with the brassy-blue big band sound backing Terry's wide-ranging solo, the flowing warmth and depth of November Song, the melancholy of Yesterdays, and the foreboding of Angel Eyes, transformed into an easy double-time swing punctuated by a lush horn and string arrangement before Terry returns with a somber statement of love lost. It's a great album for late-night romancing, or simply lay back in your armchair and enjoy the artistry of one of the most coherent, beautiful sounding players jazz has to offer.

Album Notes

Clark Terry's 1977 studio date with an orchestra conducted by Peter Herbolzheimer might very well fall into the easy listening category were it not for his brilliant improvisations on fluegelhorn, which he plays throughout the session. Most of the material consists of classic songs that Terry was undoubtedly very familiar with by the time of this 1977 recording, including "Misty," "Willow Weep for Me," "Angel Eyes," and "Yesterdays," with the arrangements all having pretty much a low-key, late-night feeling, hence the album title. Producer Mike Hennessey co-wrote "November Song" with Willi Fruth, a ballad with swirling strings; and Herbolzheimer contributed "Clark After Dark," a tasty blues that is a good deal looser than most of the rest of the album, which also features great solos by pianist Gordon Beck and trombonist Dave Horler, as well as some great muted horn from Terry. The loping "Girl Talk" showcases tenor saxophonist Tony Coe and guitarist Martin Kershaw briefly. While this isn't one of Clark Terry's most essential LPs, his flawless playing make it a worthwhile investment -- if you can only find it. ~ Ken Dryden



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