Humphrey, Percy

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Humphrey, Percy

Humphrey, Percy, early jazz trumpeter, b. New Orleans, Jan. 13, 1905; d. New Orleans, July 22, 1995. His grandfather, Professor Jim Humphrey, was a cornet player and bandleader, who taught him trumpet. His father, Willie Humphrey Sr. (b. New Orleans, May 24, 1879; d. New Orleans, January 1964), played clarinet. Percy led his own band in the 1920s. He more or less retired from music during the 1930s. His comeback began in the mid-1940s, when he led The Eureka Brass Band, the premier marching band for parades and funerals. He also worked in The Humphrey Brothers Band and his own Crescent City Joymakers. He was an original member of The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, from 1961 and continued to record and perform with them until the early 1990s. His brother Willie (William James Humphrey Jr., b. New Orleans, Dec. 29, 1900; d. New Orleans, June 7, 1994) played clarinet and also worked at Preservation Hall, dying of a heart attack after playing at the club in 1994. Another brother, Earl Humphrey (b. New Orleans, Sept. 9, 1902; d. New Orleans, June 1971), was a trombonist.


Sounds of New Orleans, Vol. 1 (1951); Crescent City Joymakers (1961); Climax Rag (1965); A Portrait of P. H. (1972); New Orleans to Scandinavia (1972); Living New Orleans Jazz (1974); P. H. at Manny’s Tavern (1990).

—John Chilton who’s who of Jazz/Lewis Porter

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Humphrey, Percy

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