From the outset of her career, Humphrey was quite popular, winning a large crossover audience with her pop-oriented jazz-fusion. Throughout her career, her popularity exceeded her critical acclaim, but she received high marks for her technique and showmanship. Audiences stayed with Humphrey for decades, buying her records and attending her concerts from the montreux festival to Carnegie Hall.
Dizzy Gillespie saw Humphrey play at a talent contest at Southern Methodist and, impressed with what he had heard, he urged her to pursue a musical career in New York City. She followed through on his advice, getting her first big break performing at the Apollo Theater on amateur night. Shortly afterward, she began playing regularly throughout the city, including a gig with Duke Ellington.
Humphrey signed with Blue Note in 1971. Her smooth blend of jazz, funk, pop, and R&B fit in well with the new sound of blue note, and her six albums for the label — Flute In, Dig This, Blacks and Blues, Satin Doll, Live at Montreux, and Fancy Dancer — were all successes.
In 1976, she was named Best Female Instrumentalist by Billboard.
Edited by mitchbacano on 28 Aug 2006, 18:17
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