Doodle-Tonguing: A Tribute to Clark Terry (Bonus: a solo with his horn upside down)

Clark Terry, one of the great jazz trumpeters left us this week after a 94-year run, and it’s been difficult to think of anything to say that hasn’t been better said by others. Clark Terry was one of the first “real” jazz players I saw live, way back in 1986, forty years after he started playing with the Basie Big Band, and Duke Ellington. He made me want to play flugelhorn in addition to trumpet, the kind of trumpet he’s playing in the first clip below. He sings, too! RIP.

Clark Terry 52nd Street Jazz Fair, July 6, 197...
Clark Terry

Like so many greats, Clark Terry was a teacher, too. Below are some videos of him, both playing and a master class. He was also pretty funny, and got a lot of notoriety from his Mr. Mumbles character made popular during his time with the Tonight Show Band. In the Mr. Mumbles clip, check him out at 4:19 playing a tasty solo with the horn UPSIDE DOWN, fingering with the backs of his fingers!

Below those is a lesson on doodle-tonguing, a method of tonguing he used and taught. The lesson is from trombonist Andrew Williams, which is one of the better lessons out there. I’ve started the vid at 9 minutes in, because that’s where Williams reviews the information. Watch from the beginning if you need more, and good luck!

Check out the effortless circular breathing…..

Clark Terry (and Aretha Franklin) Does Mr. Mumbles and plays the horn upside down at 4:19

Andy Williams Doodle-Tongue Lesson


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