To honor Herb Pomeroy, MIT’s “Father of Jazz” and founder of MIT’s jazz performance program, the Festival Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Frederick Harris, also featuring the FJE Alumni Band, will present world premieres by current members and arrangements and original music by alumni. Gala concert to include music of Duke Ellington, Jamshied Sharifi, Mark Harvey, Peter Godart, Jacob Collier, Peter Bernstein, Youngblood Brass Band, Richard Oates, ’18, and Ben Claman, ’17. Talia Khan, ’20, guest vocalist.
About Herb Pomeroy
With Louis Armstrong as inspiration, Herb Pomeroy chose the trumpet as his instrument. By age twenty-five, he had performed with Charlie Parker, toured with Stan Kenton and Lionel Hampton and recorded with Serge Chaloff. Herb Pomeroy became known as a "musician's musician," a leader in big band jazz, an improviser of uncommon stature, a legendary educator at the Berklee College of Music for forty-one years and founder and director of the Festival Jazz Ensemble at MIT for twenty-two years.
By the age of twenty-two audiences already had identified Pomeroy as an exceptional trumpet player. He left Harvard University after one year to join the legendary Charlie Parker Quintet. Herb also received praise as composer, arranger, soloist, and section player with the bands of Lionel Hampton and Stan Kenton and then established one of the most formidable bands in the world - the Herb Pomeroy Big Band.
The Stable, an old renowned Boston jazz venue frequented by musicians, became the band's home. The band's first recording by Roulette Records life is a many splendored gig was received with critical acclaim and a five-star Downbeat review; disc jockeyÕs nationwide played the album tracks as theme songs for their shows.
He and his band were then invited to perform at the Newport Jazz Festival alongside the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Benny Goodman Orchestra, the International Jazz Band, and the Maynard Ferguson Big Band. As stated in the press, "only the Pomeroy outfit lived up to its initial promise" and proved itself as one of the premier big bands.
In the following years, Herb performed with his band at Carnegie Hall, the Kool Jazz Festival, the Boston Globe Jazz Festival, and behind such singers as Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Dionne Warwick, Sarah Vaughn, and Nancy Wilson. In addition to such noted vocalists, he has performed with countless instrumentalists including Zoot Sims, Stan Getz, Lee Konitz, Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson and Gerry Mulligan.
An excellent teacher and adjudicator, Herb Pomeroy taught at the Berklee College of Music for forty-one years and at MIT for twenty-two. As a result of his influence on generations of musicians, Berklee awarded him the first Alumni Association Award for his contribution to students. In addition to teaching at Berklee, MIT, Harvard, Brandeis and countless colleges and universities in the US, he adjudicated numerous regional and national jazz competitions.