Roger Humphries Receives the 2022 Living Legacy Jazz Award Presented by PECO

Jazz Philadelphia partnered with MAA to administer the 2022 Living Legacy Jazz Award nomination process.

Percussionist, educator, and philanthropist Roger Humphries has been named the recipient of the 2022 Living Legacy Jazz Award Presented by PECO. 

A program of Mid Atlantic Arts, the Living Legacy Jazz Award honors living jazz masterartists residing in the mid-Atlantic region who have kept the spirit and tradition of this evolving art form alive, maintaining the vitality of jazz for future generations through advocacy, mentorship, and the transmission of artistic skill and cultural knowledge.

Romona Riscoe Benson, Director of Corporate Relations at PECO and Mid Atlantic Arts board chair said, “Roger Humphries is a legend in the field and a go-to for musicians looking for an extraordinary drummer to ground their recordings. I am delighted he has been selected by the peer panel to be recognized.

“Mid Atlantic Arts Executive Director, Theresa Colvin, added, “We are so pleased to return to an in-person event this year to honor Mr. Humphries and are grateful to the ‘Kimmel Cultural Campus for their continued support and partnership. We look forward to recognizing and celebrating such jazz standard-bearers in the mid-Atlantic region for years to come.”

Mr. Humphries will be celebrated on October 28, 2022 at a special event in his honor at the Kimmel Cultural Campus in Philadelphia. For event information, please visit: https://www.midatlanticarts.org/grants-programs/living-legacy-jazz-award/#this-year-s-event.

Roger Humphries career began early – by age 16 he was performing with his band at Carnegie Music Hall. He toured with the legendary Horace Silver Group and recorded three influential albums, including Song For My FatherCape Verdean Blues, and Jody Grind, with them. He also toured Europe with the Ray Charles Big Band and Richard Groove Holmes. Mr. Humphries has appeared with Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Shaw, Nancy Wilson, Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, and many more. His distinguished career has included performances at the Village Gate and Apollo Theater in New York, Ronnie Scott’s in London, the Jazz Workshop in Boston, Shelly Manne’s Manhole in Los Angeles, and many other venues around the world. 

For over 28 years, Mr. Humphries was an educator at the School of Performing Arts through the Pittsburgh Board of Education Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) Program. The first and longest-serving percussion instructor at CAPA, his students have national and international acclaim in jazz and commercial idioms. Additionally, he taught at the University of Pittsburgh and multiple clinics at Slippery Rock University and Mellon Jazz Masters Class. He founded the Roger L. Humphries Music Scholarship Program for students in the arts, hosting an annual jazz cruise where scholarship recipients perform. The opportunity to nurture and develop the next generation of young musicians provides Mr. Humphries immense personal satisfaction.

His many honors include the inaugural JazzLive Legacy Award (2018); an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from West Virginia Wesleyan College (2019); the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Pennsylvania Arts Governor’s Awards (2019); and proclamations honoring his work from the State of Pennsylvania and City of Pittsburgh. Mr. Humphries is listed in the World Encyclopedia of Jazz, Downbeat Publishing Library, and a host of other media libraries.

Mr. Humphries is now traveling with RH Factor Jazz Quintet and the Roger Humphries Big Band. He has three albums, Don’t Give Up with his big band, This N’ That with his quintet, and his newest new release, Keep the Faith.

Previous Living Legacy Jazz Award winners include Amina Claudine Myers, Charles Tolliver, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Odean Pope, Ron Carter, Gary Bartz, Joanne Brackeen, Nathan Davis, Muhal Richard Abrams, Phil Woods, Roy Haynes, Dr. Frank Foster, Kenny Barron, Benny Golson, Oliver Lake, Rufus Reid, Randy Weston, Keter Betts, Jimmy Heath, Joe Kennedy, Jr., Shirley Scott, Reggie Workman, Dr. Donald Byrd, Larry Ridley, Barry Harris, Robert “Boysie” Lowery, and Clark Terry. A Millennium Award was conferred on Dr. Billy Taylor in 2000.

Information courtesy of Mid Atlantic Arts.