Though he never found the actual playing of the instrument to be very easy, Herb Pomeroy took to and stuck with the trumpet from the age of 11 till his death in 2007, at the age of 77, in his hometown of Gloucester. He often referred to music as “something inside of me that had to come out,” and achieved that by performing with, among others, Charlie Parker, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Mariano and Stan Kenton. In 1952 he formed his first band in Boston and, having the ability to look at a score and hear in his head what it should sound like, he began conducting, which eventually led to him fronting the Herb Pomeroy Orchestra. Pomeroy was on the road with Serge Chaloff’s sextet in 1955 when he got an offer to work at his alma mater, Berklee College of Music, where he remained for 40 years, teaching writing classes (one notable student was Gary Burton), leading ensembles, and producing student recordings. He also founded the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, guiding it from 1963-1985. But Pomeroy always enjoyed playing more than his other activities, and after retirement from Berklee, he returned to it, sometimes getting in four or five gigs a week, and still finding time to take the occasional job conducting jazz orchestras in Europe. Among many deserved accolades, in 2004 he was named Musician of the Year by the Boston Musician Association.
(by Ed Symkus)
Published on December 28, 2012