|Birth name||Irving Herbert Pomeroy III|
|Born||April 15, 1930|
Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||August 11, 2007 (aged 77)|
|Associated acts||MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble|
Pomeroy was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, United States. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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. He taught at the Lenox School of Music where he conducted a full orchestra of his students. After retirement, he did workshops for local students through the Gloucester Education Foundation.
Although Pomeroy is remembered as a music educator, his first love was performing as a trumpeter. 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.
Awards and honors
- Hall of Fame, International Association of Jazz Educators, 1996
- Jazz Education Hall of Fame, Down Beat magazine
- Honorary degree, Berklee, 1995
- Musician of the Year, Boston Musician's Association, 2004
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, Dennis Wilson (trombone), and Mickey Yoshino.
- Jazz in a Stable (Transition, 1955)
- Life Is a Many Splendored Gig (Roulette, 1957)
- Band in Boston (United Artists, 1958)
- The Band and I with Irene Kral (United Artists, 1958)
- Pramlatta's Hips (Shiah, 1980)
- This Is Always (Daring, 1996)
- Walking on Air (Arbors, 1997)
With John Lewis
With Charlie Mariano
- Charlie Mariano with His Jazz Group (Imperial, 1950)
- Modern Saxophone Stylings of Charlie Mariano (Imperial, 1951)
With Gary McFarland
With Anita O'Day
- All the Sad Young Men (Verve, 1962)
- Colin Larkin, ed. (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Fifties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 329/30. ISBN 1-85227-937-0.
- 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.
- "Herb Pomeroy, founder of MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, dies". MIT News.
- "Herb Pomeroy 1930-2007: Beyond Category | Berklee College of Music". Berklee.edu. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
- "Herb Pomeroy | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 November 2016.