Established in 1994, 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.
Roger Humphries – 2022 Living Legacy Jazz Award Honoree
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.
The 2022 Living Legacy Jazz Award Presented by PECO
On Friday, October 28, 2022, Mid Atlantic Arts will celebrate percussionist and educator Roger Humphries at the 2022 Living Legacy Jazz Award Presented by PECO.
Mr. Humphries will be recognized at a gala reception in his honor in the Hamilton Garden at the Kimmel Cultural Campus. Following the Award ceremony, guests will attend a concert.
As details for this event are firmed up, more information will be posted.
This event will follow all CDC, City of Philadelphia, and Kimmel Cultural Campus guidance for in-person events.
For more information, please contact Karen Newell at firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone at
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:
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
PECO, founded in 1881, is Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PECO delivers energy to nearly 1.7 million electric customers and more than 545,000 natural gas customers in southeastern Pennsylvania. The company’s 2,800 employees are dedicated to the safe and reliable delivery of electricity and natural gas as well as enhanced energy management conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. PECO is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (Nasdaq: EXC), the largest fully regulated utility company in the nation with more than 10 million customers. For more information visit PECO.com, and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.
Since its inception, the Living Legacy Jazz Award has been given to twenty-five distinguished artists. Additionally, a special Millennium Award was conferred on Dr. Billy Taylor in 2000. Mid Atlantic Arts did not bestow an award in 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
2021: Amina Claudine Myers
2019: Charles Tolliver
2018: Toshiko Akiyoshi
2017: Odean Pope
2016: Ron Carter
2015: Gary Bartz
2014: Joanne Brackeen
2013: Nathan Davis
2012: Muhal Richard Abrams
2011: Phil Woods
2010: Roy Haynes
2009: Frank Foster
2008: Kenny Barron
2007: Benny Golson
2006: Oliver Lake
2005: Rufus Reid
2004: Randy Weston
2003: Keter Betts
2002: Jimmy Heath
2001: Joe Kennedy, Jr.
2000: Shirley Scott
1999: Reggie Workman
1998: Dr. Donald T. Byrd
1997: Larry Ridley
1996: Barry Harris
1995: Robert “Boysie” Lowery
1994: Clark Terry
Special Millennium Award given to Dr. Billy Taylor