Willie Humphrey

Genres: Jazz
Decades: 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s


William James Humphrey, 29 December 1900, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, d. 7 June 1994, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. A member of a highly musical family, Humphrey started out on violin before switching to clarinet. His brothers Earl and Percy Humphrey played trombone and trumpet respectively. After playing in local bands and on riverboats, Humphrey moved to Chicago in 1919, playing briefly in bands led by Freddie Keppard and King Oliver. Between 1920 and the early 30s he played in New Orleans and St. Louis. After a short spell in Lucky Millinder’s big band, Humphrey settled in New Orleans where, war service and an occasional tour apart, he remained. Over the years he played in several bands including those led by Paul Barbarin, Sweet Emma Barrett and De De Pierce. Playing in a forceful manner, deeply rooted in the New Orleans tradition, Humphrey remained a vigorous and enthusiastic performer into his old age.

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