Tuesday, August 14, 2007

RIP Herb Pomeroy

It's a drag to come home to be the bearer of bad news. Herb Pomeroy, longtime Boston trumpeter, composer, arranger and teacher lost his battle with cancer on Saturday at age 77. (Globe obit here, NY Times here) The article may seem like hyperbole, but it's not at all. Without Herb, Berklee couldn't have held it's post for so long as the jazz school, and his role on the Boston scene in the 50s, 60s and 70s was equally important.

I got to work with Herb once, in 1993 as part of the Mass all-state jazz band. We did an all-Ellington program (Herb was a quiet advocate for playing and learning all of Duke's music long before J@LC came along), still unusual in those days, especially for a high school band. It included a big band version of "Fleur African" from Money Jungle, very unusual. He loved everyone there, and everyone loved Herb. He was like your kind uncle who swoops in out of town once a year and regales you with tales about far-away lands. Only here the far-away lands were stories of Bird and Dolphy and Duke and so many others. I didn't get to work with Herb after that, but I am to this day grateful to him. He will be dearly missed.

As the article mentions, A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Sept. 9 in Emmanuel Church on Newbury Street in Boston.

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