Tulsa Saxophonist Earl Clark Dies

Monday, June 28th 2010, 10:57 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa has lost an Oklahoma music legend.

Saxophonist Earl Clark died Monday night at Tulsa's Saint Francis Hospital of what's believed to be a massive heart attack. 

During his life, it's that same heart that touched so many people and made up part of the legacy of music and memories he's leaving behind.

There probably isn't a charity event or music festival in Tulsa where Clark hasn't performed over the past three decades. Clark was everywhere, bringing his musical talent and his smile.

"He was an ambassador. He was an icon. He was a party maker. He brought so many smiles to so many people and he was greatly loved for it," said Jon Terry, who was Clark's booking agent and manager for more than 20 years. But, the title that best fits is friend.

"I just can't even imagine that sound not being in my life," said Terry.

Terry says Clark was one of the most unique people around, comfortable with everyone he met from U.S. presidents to plumbers.

The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame member had just wrapped up a studio recording session and was leaving to attend a rehearsal for a children's play. A massive heart attack took his life at 58.

"He was this city's biggest cheerleader," Terry said.

Tulsa and the world lost a man not only dedicated to music, but also committed to teaching children what he knew.

"All you had to say was there was an event and there was kids and he was needed, and he was always there," said Terry.

It's the sound, the stage presence that will be missed. But more than just the music, those who knew him, those he entertained, will also miss the man.

"What a great guy Earl Clark was, and how absolutely irreplaceable he is," Terry said.

As of Tuesday evening, a memorial service for Earl Clark is still pending.