Lilian Terry

a lifetime of jazz

Lilian Terry has been active in the jazz field since the late 1950s as a singer, journalist, Italian radio and TV producer, concert organizer, and educator. Her first book, Dizzy, Duke, Brother Ray, and Friends, was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2017.
Lilian Terry Book Cover
Dizzy, Duke, Brother Ray and Friends offers a positive glimpse into the world of beloved jazz artist personalities with amusing anecdotes. From Ellington’s poetry to conversations with Roach, Charles, Silver, and Gillespie, Terry’s shared experiences and interviews present a captivating look into the world of jazz and its private moments.
Kerilie McDowall, DownBeat Magazine
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Lilian Terry and Duke Ellington, Antibes/Juan les Pins, 1966

Ah! Love you madly, Uncle Eddie!

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Sonny Rollins and Lilian Terry in Rome, 1963

He spent a week in Rome to discover 'my' Eternal City. We developed a strong spiritual bond and he informed me that we meet every 144 years, since ancient Egypt. Why not?

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Anita O'Day and Lilian Terry at Antibes Juan les Pins Festival, 1966

Discussing with Anita O'Day the woes of female Jazz singers.

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Errol Garner and Lilian Terry, RAI studio, Naples, 1961

He 'eloped' with me to Rome the next day to discover the Eternal City. That night in Rome, at Benefit Gala he played for free, on condition that I first sing his "Misty" with him.

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Lilian Terry and Max Roach, Milan, 1968

Handsome, brilliant Max Roach, fortunate husband (then) of my 'sister of the soul' Abbey Lincoln.

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Lilian Terry with Dizzy and Tom Mackintosh, Turin, Italy, 1983

The official press conference regarding the unique occasion, for Italy, of a Jazz concert during a Classical Music Season. Dizzy's Quintetwould play with the RAI Symphonic Orchestra, directed by Tom Mackintosh. I sat between them on the dais to translate, with Dizzy bored (and hungry) expecting the usual trite question on why did he play a 'bent' trumpet? While I feared his outlandish answer...

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Signed photograph of Tony Bennett, Rome, mid-1960s

He came to Rome with Count Basie's Band, totally unheralded. The Italian jazz public did not know him and wanted only to hear Basie. We became friends after the concert and in the next few days I took him around Rome and consoled him, also launching a radio coverage of his artistic achievements. We remained in contact for many years, meeting often in NY and Chicago.