Big congratulations are in order for Clark Terry, who recently received the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation‘s prestigious Satchmo Award, which carries a $5,000 prize. On Terry’s website, his wife Gwen writes that Terry was ecstatic when he received the news, and said with tears in his eyes, “I appreciate each and every person who voted for me, out of all of the musicians in the world. This is such a beautiful honor. I’m humbled and very, very grateful. God bless them all, and God bless Pops (Louis Armstrong’s nickname).”
Clark Terry’s history with Louis Armstrong goes way back, giving this honor special significance. He writes in his autobiography, Clark, that in the 50s, “Dizzy [Gillespie] and I used to go over to Pops’ house, Louis Armstrong, you know. We would say, ‘Let’s go bug Pops and get our batteries charged!’ That was our way of saying that we wanted to learn from him. He was usually typing something on his old typewriter. Peck, peck, peck. We’d hang around listening to him telling stories about his career. A lot of dirty stories, but all of them great stories.”
A ceremony for the award, which “was created as a tribute to the life and legacy of Louis Armstrong and his passion for jazz and excellence matched only by his joyous love of life and children,” is currently being planned.
Read more of Clark and Gwen’s comments—and listen to some great jazz—on his website, clarkterry.com.