Listen/Download – Bobbi Humphrey – Spanish Harlem – MP3
I figured I’d end the week with something upbeat and a little on the light side.
The Funky16Corners brigade has returned from the field, tired but somewhat rested. I even managed to get in some digging (surprising, I know) scooping up some cool stuff for Funky16Corners and Iron Leg both. I also got in a visit with my man DJ Birdman, one of the truly righteous people I know.
I should note that tomorrow (Friday) evening at 11PM the good folks at the Midnight Soulstice show on WRIR Richmond, VA will be running a recent Funky16Corners mix as part of their (and I’m humbled) ‘The World’s Best Funk DJs’ series. You can read about the show here (live) and I’ll make sure I post the archive link as soon as I get it.
Not too long ago I was digging at one of the Asbury Lanes garage sales, and in an armload of one-dollar 45s I happened to score a copy of the 45 you see before you today, ‘Spanish Harlem’ by Bobbi Humphrey.
Born and raised in Texas, Humphrey was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie playing in a talent contest at Southern Methodist University. He suggested she take her flute and move to New York City, which she did.
After hitting at the Apollo Theatre amateur night she picked up some regular gigs in the city she was signed to Blue Note records in 1971. I’ve seen references suggesting that she was the first female instrumentalist signed to Blue Note, but pianist Jutta Hipp recorded a pair of albums for the label in the 50s.
Between 1971 and 1975 Humphrey recorded a half dozen LPs for Blue Note (including a live set).
Her version of Ben E. King’s ‘Spanish Harlem’ was recorded for her 1971 debut ‘Flute In’, which included covers of tunes by Bill Withers and Carole King and featured instrumental contributions by Lee Morgan and Idris Muhammad.
Humphrey’s version of ‘Spanish Harlem’ is taken at a brisk pace, with her flute often doubled by vibist George Devens.
I dig it and I hope you do too.
I’ll be back on Monday with some soul.
Have a great weekend.
PS The Asbury Park 45 Sessions returns this Friday 8/14 with the usual crew of heavy hitters, this time out joined by special guest Pat James Longo. If you’re in the area fall by and dig the sounds.