Ralph Humphrey RIP

dcrigger

Senior Member
Ralph Humphrey.jpg

I’ve been very hesitant to post this until I was really confident in my info…. I was notified of Ralph’s passing yesterday by pianist, Tom Rainer - someone I know has been quite close to Ralph for many years (and someone I’ve known nearly forever)

And then in the past hour, I saw a post from drummer, Kevin Lehman (an early LAMA graduate), which read, in part…

“Very sad to hear that my guru, Ralph Humphrey has passed. However I am so thankful that he is free of pain, and was able to make his transition with grace and dignity, in the presence of his family, and as his wonderful wife JoAnn shared with me, smiling at the tributes and love all of us were able to share with him this past week.”

To say that Ralph Humphrey was a huge influence of mine as a musician would be an understatement. Ralph’s early recordings with Don Ellis created the blueprint of how to not just play in odd meters, but how to play in them with unrestrained musicality. Those albums pretty much singularly bridged the gap from the early explorations of Roach and Morello and laid out the road map for Mahavishnu and all of the odd meter jazz and rock that followed.

But Ralph also demonstrated an unparalleled versatility that just exuded musical competence - with playing that was always thoughtful, considered, insightful and deeply musical. And all seemingly without stylistic boundaries. Regardless of whether he was playing “Zombie Woof” for Frank Zappa, the Greek influenced jazz of “Baba Ghanoush”, laying down a tango on “Dancing with the Stars” or the music for an episode of “Family Guy”, he consistently did it all…. masterfully.

And none of this has even touched on his accomplishments as an educator.

For myself, I humbly acknowledge everything I was able to learn from him - first as an influence from records and live performances, then briefly as a teacher/mentor. I consider myself blessed to have been able to follow in a few of his footsteps. And have been nothing but honored to over the years to become both his colleague and friend.

Our musical world was certainly made better by his presence.

Ralph Humphrey
Rest In Peace
May 11, 1944 - April 23, 2023
 
not much better could be said @dcrigger !!!

I will just add thank you to you for the words and to Ralph Humphrey for the music!!!
 
He was great. For those who don't know.....his playing on Zappa's Roxy and Elsewhere is really good. Him and Chester. Thank You Ralph.
 
Rest In Peace Mr. Humphrey.
He scared the living hell out of me when I heard "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?" From Zappa's "Roxy" for the first time.
I was 17 and his soloing blew me away. So fast, clean, and scary-good!
Wow!
 
Whenever I hear his name a photo of him at his white yamaha recording kit in modern drummer comes immediately to mind. Reading about him in the article made me realize what a monster player he was. You actually getting to study with him is amazing. One of the greatest.
 
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I’ve been very hesitant to post this until I was really confident in my info…. I was notified of Ralph’s passing yesterday by pianist, Tom Rainer - someone I know has been quite close to Ralph for many years (and someone I’ve known nearly forever)

And then in the past hour, I saw a post from drummer, Kevin Lehman (an early LAMA graduate), which read, in part…

“Very sad to hear that my guru, Ralph Humphrey has passed. However I am so thankful that he is free of pain, and was able to make his transition with grace and dignity, in the presence of his family, and as his wonderful wife JoAnn shared with me, smiling at the tributes and love all of us were able to share with him this past week.”

To say that Ralph Humphrey was a huge influence of mine as a musician would be an understatement. Ralph’s early recordings with Don Ellis created the blueprint of how to not just play in odd meters, but how to play in them with unrestrained musicality. Those albums pretty much singularly bridged the gap from the early explorations of Roach and Morello and laid out the road map for Mahavishnu and all of the odd meter jazz and rock that followed.

But Ralph also demonstrated an unparalleled versatility that just exuded musical competence - with playing that was always thoughtful, considered, insightful and deeply musical. And all seemingly without stylistic boundaries. Regardless of whether he was playing “Zombie Woof” for Frank Zappa, the Greek influenced jazz of “Baba Ghanoush”, laying down a tango on “Dancing with the Stars” or the music for an episode of “Family Guy”, he consistently did it all…. masterfully.

And none of this has even touched on his accomplishments as an educator.

For myself, I humbly acknowledge everything I was able to learn from him - first as an influence from records and live performances, then briefly as a teacher/mentor. I consider myself blessed to have been able to follow in a few of his footsteps. And have been nothing but honored to over the years to become both his colleague and friend.

Our musical world was certainly made better by his presence.

Ralph Humphrey
Rest In Peace
May 11, 1944 - April 23, 2023

Thanks for your words, and that's a really nice photograph of him.
 
I was first introduced to his playing with Don Ellis. The guy was a monster player and did not get the recognition he deserved. RIP Ralph
 
Hey everybody, I have a full note-for-note transcription of Ralph's amazing playing on the great Al Jarreau song "Alonzo" in this month's edition of Percussive Notes. It is one of my very favorite tracks from Ralph's discography.

It is up on their website HERE this and next month if anyone is interested in checking it out. The article is on pg. 48.

Special thanks to David Stanoch. :)(y)
Cheers, and hope you enjoy!



 
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Hey everybody, I have a full note-for-note transcription of Ralph's amazing playing on the great Al Jarreau song "Alonzo" in this month's edition of Percussive Notes. It is one of my very favorite tracks from Ralph's discography.
Thanks for your good job and for letting us know. I remember where I was the first time I heard it and I loved it. I could play that groove right away because I was experimenting on that kind of rhythms already on my own. I remember congratulating Ralph about it the first time I met him. Great song and great drumming!
 
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Thanks for your good job and for letting us know. I remember where I was the first time I heard it and I loved it. I could play that groove right away because I was experimenting on that kind of rhythms already on my own. I remember congratulating Ralph about it the first time I met him. Great song and great drumming!
Thanks for checking it out, Alain. :)
 
My hair stood straight up when I first encountered Over Night Sensation . His drumming was not of this world . RIP
 
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