Herb Pomeroy

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Herb Pomeroy
Birth nameIrving Herbert Pomeroy III
Born(1930-04-15)April 15, 1930
Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedAugust 11, 2007(2007-08-11) (aged 77)
Gloucester, Massachusetts
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, educator
Instruments Trumpet, flugelhorn
Associated actsMIT Festival Jazz Ensemble

Irving Herbert Pomeroy III (April 15, 1930 – August 11, 2007) was an American jazz trumpeter, teacher, and the founder of the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble. [1]


Early life

Pomeroy was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, United States. [1] He began playing trumpet at an early age. In his early teens he started performing in Boston, claiming inspiration from the music of Louis Armstrong. In 1946, at the age of 16, he became a member of the Musicians Union in Gloucester after the union did not have enough members to conduct a meeting. He studied dentistry at Harvard University for a year but dropped out to pursue his jazz career.

After high school, he studied music from 1950 to 1952 at the Schillinger House in Boston. [2]


Remaining in Boston, he played with Charlie Parker for one week in 1953, then briefly with Charlie Mariano, before going on tour with Lionel Hampton and Stan Kenton. [1] Back in Boston, he played with Serge Chaloff and was hired to teach at Schillinger after it had been renamed the Berklee School of Music. [1] During the latter part of the 1950s he was the leader of a sixteen-piece band which included Mariano, Bill Berry, Jaki Byard, Joe Gordon, and Boots Mussulli. For two years after that, he led another band, which included Alan Dawson, Hal Galper, Michael Gibbs, Dusko Goykovich, and Sam Rivers. He worked in pit orchestras for Broadway shows passing through Boston. Beginning in 1963 he led bands at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He led a band until 1993, two years before retiring from Berklee. [2]

He helped establish the Jazz Workshop on Stuart Streert under the leadership of Mariano and including Chaloff, Varty Haroutunian, Ray Santisi, and Dick Twardzik on the faculty. In 1963 he was hired to revitalize the Techtonians big band at MIT. It was renamed the Festival Jazz Ensemble, and he continued as its director for 22 years. [1] He led the band throughout the US and abroad, taking it to the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. On May 10, 2008 the university had a memorial concert for him. [3] He taught at the Lenox School of Music where he conducted a full orchestra of his students. [1] After retirement, he did workshops for local students through the Gloucester Education Foundation. [4]

Although Pomeroy is remembered as a music educator, his first love was performing as a trumpeter. [1] He ranked leading a band and teaching music second and third, respectively. He was not enthusiastic about recordings, emphasizing that jazz is a music that must be witnessed in person. A good example of such an incident can be found in the Berklee video archives. The video documents an October 31, 2005 Friend Hall panel session on jazz in Boston at mid-century. At one point the panel was asked what the best recordings of jazz in Boston in the 1950s are. Several people offered suggestions. In apparent frustration, Pomeroy told everyone to take the recommended recordings (most featured Pomeroy) and get rid of them. He advised them to go to a club and hear live jazz.[ citation needed ]

Awards and honors

Former students

Former students include Lee Allen (piano), Franck Amsallem, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Michel Barbaud, Alan Broadbent, Gary Burton, Janez Gregorc, Duško Gojković, Mika Pohjola, Gary McFarland, Jože Privšek, Miroslav Vitouš, Ranko Rihtman, Dennis Wilson (trombone), and Mickey Yoshino.


As leader

As sideman

With John Lewis

With Charlie Mariano

With Gary McFarland

With Anita O'Day

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Colin Larkin, ed. (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Fifties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 329/30. ISBN   1-85227-937-0.
  2. 1 2 Kernfeld, Barry (2002). Kernfeld, Barry (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. 3 (2 ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries. p. 308. ISBN   1-56159-284-6.
  3. "Herb Pomeroy, founder of MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, dies". MIT News.
  4. "Herb Pomeroy 1930-2007: Beyond Category | Berklee College of Music". Berklee.edu. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  5. "Herb Pomeroy | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 November 2016.