Roger Humphries: Keep the Faith

Pittsburgh drummer Roger Humphries is perhaps best known for his three-year stint with the Horace Silver Quintet in the mid-’60s, during which the group recorded the Blue Note albums Song for My Father, The Cape Verdean Blues and The Jody Grind. Appropriately, Keep the Faith adheres to the Silver principle of reaching the people with a strong rhythmic foundation and memorable melodic content. Personnel varies, but the main group includes tenor saxophonist Lou Stellute, trumpeter James Moore, pianist Max Leake and bassist Dwayne Dolphin. Percussionist George Jones appears on three cuts, trumpeter Sean Jones and pianist Brett Williams on two, and bassist Tony DePaolis on one.

There are three familiar tunes here rooted in the groove and spirituality of the 1960s: Silver’s “Peace,” Nat Adderley’s “Work Song” and John Coltrane’s “Dear Lord.” Stanley Clarke’s “Why Wait,” George Heid III’s “Dad” and Leake’s “Mi Bella Kathryn” suggest the atmospheric sound of trumpeter Tom Harrell’s current band or Miles Davis’ Second Great Quintet. Leake’s “Wylie Avenue Days” and Humphries’ “Regina” are swinging, big-beat performances. Throughout the album, you get the feeling that Humphries prefers his ensemble role to a soloist’s role. In a band featuring so many fine journeymen, that’s a righteous pursuit.