Terry Trotter has had a long and multifaceted career. "I
grew up in Glendale, California. My mom was a fabulous pianist
and, although not a professional, she could play anything. My
sister, who is three years older than I, studied piano and at
age four I started imitating what she was doing, so soon I was
taking lessons too. When I was thirteen, I met Bobby Hutcherson
and Herbie Lewis when we were hired for a high school dance.
We then played regularly in Bobby's garage in Pasadena. I met
Charles Lloyd when I was 15 or 16 when he was going to USC and
he kind of took me under his wing, telling me who to listen to
and criticizing my playing. The first concert that I played with
Charles was at USC with a group that also had Scott LaFaro, Billy
Higgins and Don Cherry! Music was always the most important thing
in my life and I had a strong classical background, but after
that concert I knew that I wanted to be a jazz musician."
Early in his career, Trotter gained a wide variety of valuable
musical experiences. "I worked at the Lighthouse with Art
Pepper for a year and a half, toured with Les Brown and played
with Chet Baker and Joe Pass off and on for a couple of years.
When I came back to Los Angeles after a tour with Lena Horne,
Victor Feldman recommended me for the job with Miles Davis' group.
Miles wanted me to come up to San Francisco to play with his
group and see how it felt, but I had been through some negative
experiences living the jazz life and I didn't want to travel
anymore. Instead I decided to become a studio musician, a decision
that changed my life because I spent the next 20 years in the
studio. I loved getting a chance to play with the greatest musicians
in the world even if I did not care for the constant pressure;
you had to always be perfect and of course a lot of the music
was not that rewarding."
Evantually Trotter returned to playing jazz more actively.
"I decided not to get involved in the electronic world of
the studios; I wanted to play more creative music. I used to
sit in at Mulberry Street, jamming with Larry Carlton. Eventually
I recorded with him and have toured with Larry off and on up
to the present day. He lets me be myself in the contemporary
setting without having to sound like someone else." In addition
an active teaching schedule and recording a couple of clasical
albums including 1985's Collaboration on Pausa with Charlie
Shoemake, Bill Holman and Phil Woods. "Although I like some
of the earlier records I was on, I really started playing differently
three years ago and I think I'm a much stronger player today.
I take a lot ore chances with my music than I used to. Clare
Fischer told me years ago that I was too perfect in my playing.
I've decided to let the perfection go in order to be more musical."
Throughout his very impressive debut It's About Time Terry
Trotter manages to be both.