MTSU Jazz Artist Series keeps the beat at Feb. 6 concert

Jan 31, 2020 at 08:00 am by Voice Wire

MTSU Jazz Artist Series

Famed jazz drummer Roger Humphries will bring his 70-plus years of musical brilliance to MTSU Thursday, Feb. 6, to perform with university jazz faculty and the MTSU Jazz Ensemble I in the first 2020 concert of the MTSU Jazz Artist Series.

Humphries also will present a free public master class that same morning on campus.

Tickets for Humphries’ Feb. 6 concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in Hinton Hall inside MTSU’s Wright Music Building at 1439 Faulkinberry Drive, are $10 for the public. Admission is free for MTSU students, faculty and staff with a current ID. Discounts for area music students and educators also are available.

The master class is set for 11:30 a.m. Feb. 6 in Room 303 of the Saunders Fine Arts Building.

Renowned jazz drummer Roger Humphries will bring his 70-plus years of musical brilliance to MTSU Thursday, Feb. 6, as part of the MTSU Jazz Artist Series. (Photo by Ahmed Sandidge via

“The concert will showcase the sound of one of the great jazz drummers,” said Jamey Simmons, director of MTSU’s jazz studies program in the School of Music.

“The exciting thing for us as performers will be to play with and be around someone who’s experienced so much important jazz history.”

Concertgoers can reserve tickets by contacting Simmons at 615-898-2724 or Tickets also will be available at the door.

Humphries, now 76 years young, first picked up the sticks at age 3 1/2 and began playing professionally at age 14. Two years later, he led his own ensemble at Carnegie Hall.

He’s provided a beat for a list of renowned musicians that reads like an encyclopedia entry of every genre, including Ray Charles, Lionel Hampton, Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, George Benson, the Isley Brothers and Illinois Jacquet, who MTSU honors every year with a weekend of jazz clinics and concerts.

Humphries’ recordings for jazz greats Stanley Turrentine and Horace Silver showcased his hard-swinging style, and as a member of Silver’s group from 1964 to 1967, he recorded and performed such classic tunes as “Song For My Father” and “Cape Verdean Blues.”

You can get a preview of his artistry below.

At the Feb. 6 concert with Humphries, Simmons will be joined by MTSU colleagues Don Aliquo on saxophone, Jim Ferguson on bass and Matt Endahl on piano.

MTSU’s Jazz Ensemble I is the university’s top performing student group in the jazz studies program. The ensemble tours throughout the region and focuses on cutting-edge works and big-band repertoire.

Now in its 21st season, the MTSU Jazz Artist Series brings internationally renowned jazz artists to campus for performances and educational workshops. Past guest artists have included some of the most important musicians and educators in jazz history.

The 2019-20 Jazz Artist Series continues in March with performances by tenor saxophonist and MTSU alumnus Cord Martin on Friday, March 20, and baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan on Saturday, March 21, as part of MTSU’s Illinois Jacquet Jazz Festival.

Jazz vocalist Erin Bode will be joined by the MTSU Singers, the university’s vocal jazz ensemble, for the season’s final concert on Tuesday, April 21.

For more information about MTSU’s Jazz Artist Series, please visit For details on other special events in the MTSU School of Music, visit or call 615-898-2493.

Sections: Local Events


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