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Next Show: Sunday July 10, 11pm-1am

Bobbi Humphrey (right) and daughter Ricki at WBAI studio in New York. Photo credit: Joyce Jones.

She has been named “First Lady of the Flute” by the critics and listeners alike and, from the accomplishments in her musical career, deservedly so. For three decades now, Bobbi Humphrey has been playing her special brand of music to audiences around the world. Her professional career began in 1971 when she was the first female signed to Blue Note Records. This year, Bobbi celebrates 40 YEARS in the music industry.

Born in Marlin, Texas and raised in Dallas, Humphrey’s training on flute began in high school and continued through her years at Texas Southern University and Southern Methodist University. It was there that Dizzy Gillespie spotted her when he served as a judge in a school-wide competition. With Gillespie encouraging her to pursue a career in New York City, Humphrey wrote a letter to New York’s famed Apollo Theatre and received a telegram soon afterwards telling her, “We have reserved a spot for you on Amateur Night”. She didn’t take further convincing, nor did she have trouble finding her “spot” in the music industry.

The title of one of her Epic LPs The Good Life, best describes her career. Humphrey has played with the best, ranging from Duke Ellington (her third day in New York) to Lee Morgan to Stevie Wonder (featured on Songs In The Key of Life LP in 1977). Between 1971 and 1976, Bobbi recorded six albums for Blue Note Records. In 1974, she recorded the successful Satin Doll LP.

Following the success of Bobbi Humphrey Music selling in excess of five million units of the Campbell records, Ms. Humphrey boldly launched her label, Paradise Sounds Records, in 1994. She recorded her first release “Passion Flute”, which was recently re-released and continues to be one of her fans’ all-time favorite recording. The album’s concept is to showcase Bobbi Humphrey with a cool jazz setting; mostly at mid-tempo: although there is a surprising uptempo version of his huge hit, “Harlem River Drive. There are also two original ballads in which Bobbi features the smooth singing of D’wayne Whitehead. Another song features two great artists and friends of Bobbi, Gwen Guthrie on vocal and Ralph MacDonald on percussion. From the first track, “Steppin’ Out” which features Bobbi’s flute on a hauntingly smooth, yet strong hook, to the last track, “Rainbows,” a soaring ballad, her passionate and pure flute playing is ever present. In “Passion Flute,” her fans old and new will surely have a greater passion for Bobbi Humphrey.

Hosted by Arts Producer Joyce Jones.

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