Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Percy and his brother, clarinetist Willie Humphrey, became well-known from the 1960s on for their playing in the erratic but enjoyable Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Percy, whose other brother was trombonist Earl Humphrey (1902-1971), was never a major musician, but he played his simple melodic leads with sincerity. He gained his initial recognition working with New Orleans brass bands, including the Eureka Brass Band. Humphrey was with George Lewis during 1951-1953 and mostly played locally, became a fixture at Preservation Hall after it opened in 1961, and toured the world with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, performing until shortly before his death at the age of 90. Percy Humphrey, who sounded at his best on a Sweet Emma Barrett date in 1961, recorded as a leader for Riverside, Pearl, GHB, Storyville, and Smoky Mary, among other labels.