Cultural Percussionist

Herb Pomeroy Day

Irving Herbert Pomeroy III (April 15, 1930 – August 11, 2007) was a jazz trumpeter, teacher, and the founder of the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble. Pomeroy 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.

After high school, he studied music from 1950 to 1952 at the Schillinger House in Boston. 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 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.

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