Monday, April 14, 2014

Bobbi Humphrey: Jazz Musician.

Bobbi Humphrey is a comparatively rare phenomenon in that she's one of the few women ever to record for Blue Note records: the label synonymous with, and celebrated for, the hard bop style that originated in the 1950's and which was popularised by musicians such as Horace Silver, Art Blakey and Miles Davis.

All men. All middle aged men.

It must have been a tough gig - literally and metaphorically - for the 21 year old Bobbi.

The flute playing on these 1970's Blue Note releases is as tight and accomplished as any contemporary male instrumentalists - so much so that artists as creatively distinctive and industry renowned as Stevie Wonder and Duke Ellington wanted her to perform and to excel on their records.

And play and excel she did, paving the way for other, similarly talented female musicians and singers to be successful in their own rights often under their own terms.

Bobbi Humphrey's third LP for Blue Note is her best.  'Blacks and Blues,' is a gorgeous record - evocative and irreverently funky, not unlike the records being made by the more celebrated George Benson at CTI and label mate and trumpeter extraordinaire, Donald Byrd.  

A great and underrated musician, still recording and performing today, look out for Bobbi Humphrey.  

Boy, can she play.