Established in 1994, the Living Legacy Jazz Award honors living jazz master artists 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. 

Current Living Legacy Jazz Award Honoree

Roger Humphries – 2022 Living Legacy Jazz Award Honoree

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Roger Humphries, percussionist extraordinaire, educator, and philanthropist, began his musical career early. By the time he was 3½ years old, his talent was recognized and nurtured by his immediate family. At age 16, he was performing with his band at Carnegie Music Hall.

During his early years, Humphries played with well-respected musicians in the jazz industry, including the legendary Horace Silver Group, whom he toured for three years and recorded three influential albums, including Song For My Father, Cape Verdean Blues, and Jody Grind. He also toured Europe with the Ray Charles Big Band and the dynamic Richard Groove Holmes.

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. He’s also appeared with Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Shaw, Nancy Wilson, Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, and many more.

Humphries stands amongst world-renowned musicians in the World Encyclopedia of Jazz, Downbeat Publishing Library, and a host of other media libraries. He was acknowledged as a legend in the jazz world on February 23, 2008, when he received proclamations from Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh. He is highlighted in a publication entitled Pittsburgh Born and the May 2011 issue of Modern Drummer Magazine.

For well over 28 years, 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 some scholarship recipients perform. The opportunity to nurture and develop the next generation of young musicians provides immense personal satisfaction for him. Humphries has retired from the CAPA Program and is now traveling with RH Factor Jazz Quintet and the Roger Humphries Big Band. He has two CDs, Don’t Give Up with his big band and This N’ That with his quintet. Additionally, in June of 2011, during his annual boat ride, he released his new CD entitled, Keep the Faith.

He was awarded the inaugural JazzLive Legacy Award in 2018. In 2019, he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from West Virginia Wesleyan College. In 2019 he also received the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Governor’s Award Recipient.

Humphries has been blessed with a talent that enables him to pursue a profession that he loves. That gift has opened doors for him to meet other creative and talented people in the rarified strata of professional musicians. As much as he appreciates the opportunity to travel the world, he has been equally blessed with a beautiful wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, as well as a vast extended family based in Pittsburgh.

He has every intention of continuing to enjoy life, his family, and his first love – music.

Photo Credit: Ahmed Sandidge.

This Year’s Event

The 2022 Living Legacy Jazz Award Presented by PECO

On Friday, October 28, 2022, Mid Atlantic Arts celebrated percussionist and educator Roger Humphries at the 2022 Living Legacy Jazz Award Presented by PECO.

Mr. Humphries was recognized at a gala reception in his honor in the Hamilton Garden at the Kimmel Cultural Campus. Following the Award ceremony, guests attended the Jazzmeia Horn concert in Verizon Hall with a special appearance by Mr. Humphries.

View the 2022 Living Legacy Jazz Awardee video celebrating Mr. Humphries here. (Credit East Hill Media)

View the event program as an accessible PDF here.

2022 Living Legacy Jazz Award Presented by PECO Host Committee

  • Romona Riscoe Benson, Director, PECO Corporate and Community Relations, Philadelphia, PA
  • Rev. Bill Golderer, President and CEO, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA
  • Juanita Hardy, Founder and Managing Principal, Tiger Management Consulting Group LLC, Silver Spring, MD
  • Nicholas B. Hawkins, Baltimore, MD
  • E. Scott Johnson, Senior Counsel, Baker Donelson, Baltimore, MD
  • William Johnson, General Manager, WRTI, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
  • Sharmain Matlock-Turner, CEO, Urban Affairs Coalition, Philadelphia, PA
  • Hal Real, Founder & President, World Cafe Live; Co-Founder & President, National Independent Venue Foundation, Philadelphia, PA
  • Megan R. Smith, Director, Brownstone, Philadelphia, PA
  • John and Pat Strickland, Maynard C. Smith Construction Company, Inc., Charleston, WV
  • Matías Tarnopolsky, President & CEO, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, Inc., Philadelphia, PA
  • Gerald Veasley, President, Jazz Philadelphia. Philadelphia, PA



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Nominators and Panel

Each year a committee of invited nominators generates a list of master jazz artists to be considered for the award. Nominators representing a cross-section of artists and professionals in the field of jazz are asked to submit recommendations for up to three artists they wish to be considered for the award. Meet the 2022 Living Legacy Jazz Award nominators:

  • Marcus Baylor
  • Gerald Chavis 
  • Melvin Gibbs 
  • Randall Grass 
  • Vijay Iyer
  • Josh Jackson
  • Micah Jones
  • Michael Kline 
  • Joshua Lee
  • Lee Mergner
  • Mark Ruffin 
  • Rio Sakairi
  • Sunny Sumter    
  • Nicole Sweeney
  • Bob Thompson
  • Kayla Waters
  • Janis Burley Wilson

Nominations are taken to panel for final selection of the Living Legacy honoree.  Meet the 2022 Living Legacy Jazz Award panel: 

  • George Burton, Pianist, NY
  • Emmet Cohen, Pianist, NY
  • Sherrie Maricle, Percussionist, PA
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