Documentary on Pittsburgh jazz legend premieres this month


By Alyse Horn

A jazz icon will be honored this month on the Northside, while also raising money for Pittsburgh non-profit organizations that educate musically gifted youth.

The red carpet premiere of “Roger Humphries: Pass It On” will be shown on Saturday, February 22 at the Manchester Craftmen’s Guild, 1815 Metropolitan St. Honorary co-chairmen for the event are Mayor Bill Peduto and Bill Strickland.

Billy Jackson, the producer and director of the documentary, said he chose Humphries as a subject because of his “altruistic outlook on developing and nurturing young talent.”

Humphries is a Pittsburgh native who began performing as a jazz musician at the age of three and a half. He went professional at 14 and throughout his career played with Stanley Turpentine, Horace Silvers and Ray Charles to name a few.

Humphries could have lived and taught jazz anywhere in the world, but he “chose to live and raise his family right here in Pittsburgh.”

Jackson said Humphries story is told naturally, given how close he is to his family and all of the memories that are shared in the documentary.

“I wanted to share Humphries worldview with others,” Jackson said. “Perhaps it will inspire us all to give back that which we have been given in some tangible manner.”

Humphries said he was “humbled and thankful” to Jackson for creating the documentary, and that he feels blessed for his musical gift but also a responsibility to help cultivate future generations.

“I have committed my time, my energy, my passion and my finances to ensuring that a musical tradition is passed on to young talented artists,” Humphries said.

The premiere is also a fundraiser for four non-profit music schools: The Afro-American Music Institute, The Roger L. Humphries Music Scholarship Fund, The Jazz Workshop of Homewood and The Lighthouse Arts, Inc.

The doors open for VIP at 5:30 p.m. and include valet, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres with a “Jazz Jam Session” by CAPA Performing Arts students.

General admission is at 7:30 p.m., and following the premiere there will be an exclusive award presentation of commemorative work created by world-renowned sculptor Thaddeus Mosely. There will also be dessert and coffee.

Tickets are $125 for VIP and $50 for general admission. There are also a limited number of young professional rate tickets offered at $30.

To buy tickets or for more information go to or call 412-294-9892.

Jackson is a national award-winning documentarian and principal owner of NOMMO Productions, which has produced documentary, dramatic and promotional films for client base that include Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, New York Department of General Services, BET and Alcoa.

Northside Chronicle Donation