By Abby Mendelson, Pop City Media
It’s a sunny Tuesday morning, and 300-plus Pittsburgh Public Schools third-graders are in the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild auditorium. Listening with rapt attention, they’re watching Roger Humphries, dean of Pittsburgh’s ultra-rich jazz community, slap the skins silly. Ripping off a drum solo of intricate rhythm and blinding speed, he has the kids staring open-mouthed. A final bam! brings down the house.
On the tune, the venerable New Orleans chestnut “When the Saints Go Marching In,” Humphries is joined by such local luminaries as trombonist Jay Ashby, bassist Dwayne Dolphin, saxophonist Mike Tomaro, trumpeter Jamie Moore, and pianist Max Leake. Simply, it’s a line-up to die for, and these cats are blowing like it’s the famed Montreaux Jazz Festival, not Metropolitan Street on the North Side….
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