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Distinguished SOTW Columnist and Saxophonistic Art
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

WITH GREAT SADNESS....I post this sad news about Mr Pomeroy.

Herb Pomeroy, passed away on Saturday August 11th, 2007.

Herb was beyond anything I could say, the guy _WAS_the backbone of Berklee and Boston jazz for ever. You mention Boston Jazz and Herbs name comes up. Ditto Berklee.

Things that just float through my mind about Herb was that some of the best jazz I ever heard as a teenager at Berklee was events / concerts that involved this titan.

Herb was beyond words...he played and recorded with BIRD!! He replaced Clifford Brown with Lionel Hamptopn!! Hows that for just a few words? right. Plus his educational stance at Berklee.

In his Berklee days, Herbs teaching and mentoring students at Berklee for over forty years. Not to mention his world class legendary big band Trumpeter Joe Gordon and pianist Jaki Byard played in his big band, among others: guys like Sam Rivers and Charlie Mariano in the same sax section!!

Somebody sent me this interview from the Boston Phoenix that they did on Sam Rivers. ( I wish I had the entire article- sorry- wish I knewthe article more too )
But - SAM RIVERS - from this article via the Boston Phoenix that gives you a good idea of Mr. Pomeroy's influence:
The Pomeroy aggregation, meanwhile, featured a slew of Boston's top players and arrangers. "It was a great band," says Rivers. "It was probably the most inspirational band I've ever been in. It had music by all the exciting writers at the time -- Jaki Byard was in it, Mike Gibbs. In fact, that band was one of my inspirational guides to writing for big band. A lot of other musicians came up through Herb's band -- Dick Johnson, who runs the Artie Shaw Orchestra, Charlie Mariano, John Neves, Alan Dawson. Keith Jarrett also came through. I don't know what happened to that music. I'm sure Herb still has it." Thinking back on those days, he adds, "Without Herb Pomeroy, there probably wouldn't be a Berklee College of Music."

Again- from the mouth of a master- SAM RIVERS!

I sure hope some others chime in here this mans legacy was deep.

He had this writing course in the ELLINGTON STYLE. And, any time Duke Ellington was in Boston, he's pop by and spend time with Herb.

There was the legendary STABLES< before my time > and LENNIES ON THE TURNPIKE.
Home turfs for Pomeroy bands. Pomeroy's band often played in Boston's Back Bay at "Storyville" and at "The Stables" and the club at Lennie's. That club was run by Lennie Sogoloff a Boston jazz fan and cool guy. He had this amazing mural in the back wall of the club, with a collage of musicians that played there. It was the coolest thing I ever saw musician wise.

Also Benny Golsons tune - STABLEMATES - was written for that scene!

In all this man Herb Pomeroy will be missed and the memorys will be amazing for all who knew him.
Truly from what many of my peers say, the end of a Bostonian era.

BTW- from what I'm hearing...A celebration of Herb's life and music will be held on Sunday, September 9th in the Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., Boston at 3 P.M.


1,045 Posts
I first heard Herb Pomeroy on Serge Chaloff's Boston Blow-up. He was a monster then and that was a loooonnnggg time ago. It's inspiring to see and hear guys like him, Charlie Mariano, Konitz, Von Freeman, and others who continue to progress and create at an astounding level well into their senior years.

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Thanks for the personal touch, Tim.

I studied arranging in Japan from Masahiko Sato when he had just returned from Berklee and everything he taught me about scoring and concepts of ensemble writing came directly from Pomeroy. These were really interesting ways of looking at the music.

I hope they put a bronze statue of him somewhere on the Berklee "campus". We all know they've got the money and Lord knows he deserves it!

Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2014
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I'm shocked. Mere words are barely adequate for conveying my deepest condolences to the family.
I was one of the many that Herbie's encouragement had a positive influence. I'll never forget the many times that, upon his seeing me in the halls at school(Berklee), would stop whatever he was doing and "shout" my name in greeting. I learned much from this man from his playing, teaching and his friendship.
Rip Herb Pomeroy.

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Herb Pomeroy, Joe Viola, and John LaPorta were Berklee's core. Now all three have passed on from this world. They are musical giants that cannot be replaced.

I could write PAGES about what Herb meant to me as a teacher and as a human being. Much of what I've absorbed musically came from Herb and his concepts. A telling indication of Herb's chops was when I went on to grad school after Berklee I found the composition courses a breeze compared with the level of work I put out in Herb's courses.

Thank you Herb!


717 Posts
So sad, and my condolences to his wife.

A few thoughts.

I got the official alumni association message from Berklee. The guy who sent it, some VP or other, didn't even to know Herb. That's sad.

I had lunch with Herb last year. Since I work part time on a day gig as a technical writer, I nearly begged him to let me help convert his courses to a book. It wasn't the first time I had asked, but, although he seemed to consider it this time, he did not agree. That's sad.

Herb and I are from and live in the same town. Nearly no one there has ever heard of him. That's sad.

I have both of Herb's big band albums from the 50s. Oh my, the cat could play. Herb used to complain obout his chops being down to 'a minor third' on some of the society jobs we worked together. He was also teaching full time at Berklee and part time at MIT at the time. When he retired his playing returned to an astonishing level.

He laughed a lot telling me the story of how he ended up teaching at Berklee again after they ran him out of there. He got a call from someone at the Conservatory to run an ensemble there on Monday mornings. He didn't want to do it, so he named a silly high price. They agreed. Gary Burton was running Berklee at the time. When he heard that Herb was at NEC he asked him to come over after lunch on Mondays and do a Berklee Ensemble. Herb said OK if Berklee would match the NEC price. It took Gary Burton a week to think about, but then there he was, back at Berklee.

Irving Herbert Pomeroy, son of Dr. Pomeroy, rest in peace my old friend. John LaPorta is waiting for you somewhere, ready to tell you to push in a little.

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The Berkley Alumni e-mail has been circulated amongst a number of local groups. Here's a copy:

To the Berklee Community:

It is with a great sadness that I write today to tell you of the passing of Herb Pomeroy, on Saturday.

Herb has been a founding father of this institution, a vibrant, garrulous presence in our midst for much of the college's history. His influence on Berklee's educational approach, curriculum, even our institutional attitude to the world at large would be hard to overstate. As a friend and colleague, and teacher and mentor to some of the greatest talents to pass through these halls, this is a loss of indescribable dimensions, as many of you who knew him for so many years will know.

I am told that when he retired from Berklee in 1995, the college presented a huge tribute concert featuring some of his greatest former students and colleagues. That May, after he received an honorary doctorate alongside Natalie Cole and James Taylor, he said he was ready to leave the classroom behind, and get back to playing his horn. And he did. But he loved working with great young musicians, and before too long he was right back teaching as well. In fact, we had hoped to have him with us again this coming semester, but it was not to be.

Our hearts go out to Herb's wife Dodie, and the other members of their family. To read more about Herb, you can go to Details on a wake, expected to be Wednesday evening, will also be located there. The funeral will be for the family only; a public memorial service is under discussion. How the Berklee community will celebrate Herb's life is also being discussed, and we invite your suggestions in this regard.


Larry Simpson
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Distinguished SOTW Columnist and Saxophonistic Art
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It's something isn't it.........

Guys like this and Herb DID have a great life; he touched us all.

Think of it like this guys, Roger , Gary , Dan etc al - - Everytime ALAN SILVESTRI ( Forest Gump ) or HOWARD SHORE ( The original conductor/sax/arranger in SNL and hundreds of film scores,,and orignal arranger-sax w/ LIGHTHOUSE ) or countless others have something played consider it a direct bow to Herb Pomeroy. Those guys came thru Herb as hundreds of others did.

In any case- I have all the recordings that I could ever get and memorys of Herbs storys about Gary McFarland and others.

Where ever those scores the big band. Maybe someday there will be a foundation to save these scores by Herb,Sam Rivers, Artie Shaw and guys of that magnitude. Till then....keep composing and keep on the case because Herb Pomeroy sure was ABOUT THE MUSIC.

He had a great life. Bless him. And for sure LaPorta is waiting for him. :)

PS-Once at BOSTON GLOBE JAZZ 1970 LaPorta was there when Miles Davis had his start of the electric bands. Chick, Keith, Jack D' Wayne and Steve Grossman etc. SO - at the end of the gig LaPorta walks to the edge of the stage....and sais to Miles ..." So Miles....Is this your new bag babbbbby ? " ...smiling and letting Miles know he dug it. And Miles steps off the stage and hugs and kisses John like a family member. It was a great well. I never forgot that image...of Miles huggin' John. Or seeing Ornette walk into Herbs office once and beam as their eyes met. Old buds from Leonox School and all..3ed stream etc

Any of us that were around these guys were lucky.....and blessed.
There is not a day goes by that I don't think of them.:cool:


963 Posts
Herb's early record title was indeed prophetic -
"Life is a many splendored gig"
I knew of Herb through family friend Carol Miller Tristano (Lennie's student 1959ish and later his wife), along with Toshiko, Tabakin, and a lot of the other Boston players of the era.
That record opened my ears to the East coast version of Shorty Rogers -
Herb did it the right way, and passed along the expertise, just as did/do
Joe V., Santisi, Rivers, and most of the other people Herb affiliated with.
A life well lived, a talent well developed, and a legacy passed on. RIP.

Forum Contributor 2010, Distinguished SOTW Member
5,076 Posts
danarsenault said:
So was his other early album title, band in boston
The obituary is running the the NY Times today (a little slow, isn't it?):

Herb Pomeroy, Jazz Player and Teacher, Dies at 77

Published: August 22, 2007

BOSTON, Aug. 21 (AP) - Herb Pomeroy, a jazz trumpeter who played with Charlie Parker, backed Frank Sinatra and influenced generations of musicians in four decades as a teacher at Berklee College of Music and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, died on Aug. 11 at his home in Gloucester, Mass. He was 77.

His death followed a long struggle with cancer, his daughter, Perry Pomeroy, said.

Mr. Pomeroy played with Parker, Stan Kenton, Max Roach and Sonny Rollins, and backed Tony Bennett and Sarah Vaughan as well as Sinatra.

Irving Herbert Pomeroy III was born and raised in Gloucester and began playing music as a teenager. He spent a year at Harvard before leaving to become a full-time musician.

In addition to his daughter, his survivors include his wife, Dodie Gibbons; a son, Eden Pomeroy; four stepchildren; 11 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2008
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I studied with Herb when I was at Berklee. I was very lucky to get into his class and he was very very hard on all of us. I had never been so challenged in a class. Not in undergrad and not in grad school. It prepared me for serious work and his lessons are always present.
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