Paul Humphrey (born Paul Nelson Humphrey on October 12, 1935 in Detroit, Michigan), is an American drummer who has received little recognition especially around the R&B and jazz circles. He and his band the Cool Aid Chemists had scored minor hits, “Cool Aid” and “Funky L.A.,” both making a dent on the R&B circles. Also a session drummer, one of Humphrey’s works that deserve at least some recognition is his drumming for Marvin Gaye’s album, Let’s Get It On. He has also collaborated with Frank Zappa, Steely Dan, Natalie Cole, Dusty Springfield, Jerry Garcia and so many other artists.
Paul Humphrey and the Cool Aid Chemists
The jazz, easy-listening ensemble Paul Humphrey and the Cool Aid Chemists was founded by bandleader Paul Humphrey (born Paul Nelson Humphrey on October 12, 1935 in Detroit, Michigan). He made a name as a drummer especially during the 70s music era. Nelson is mostly known as a drummer specializing in jazz, funk and R&B style. He also sessioned for numerous jazz artists, among of them were Les McCann, Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Smith, Kai Winding, Blue Mitchell, Charles Mingus, Lee Konitz and Gene Ammons.
Making hits with “Cool Aid” and “Funky L.A”
In 1971, Paul Humphrey and the Cool Aid Chemists (Paul Humphrey and His Cool-Aid Chemists) gained attention with their two singles “Cool Aid” and “Funky L.A.” The former reached the Billboard Hot 100 at #29 and #14 on the Black Singles or R&B singles chart. Meanwhile the latter did not make to the pop chart but it entered the Black Single (R&B) chart at #45.
Outside the Cool Aid Chemists
Apart from the jazz artists, Paul Humphrey also collaborated with rock and pop music artists, as well as other R&B and soul stars. He had the opportunity work with Frank Zappa, Steely Dan, Natalie Cole, Dusty Springfield, Jerry Garcia and so many artists. As a drummer, one of his greatest contributions was his drumming on Marvin Gaye’s classic soul album Let’s Get It On. Humphrey was also invited as a feature drummer for Lawrence Welk and his orchestra , and also appeared on the Welk’s own musical variety program The Lawrence Welk Show.
Paul Humphrey and the Cool Aid Chemists’ discography (may be impartial)
- A: Cool Aid
- B: Detroit
- A: Funky L. A.
- B: Baby Rice