Charles McPherson on YouTube

Charles has THE SOUND, period.

Kenny Barron Trio w. Charles mcpherson - Star Eyes
Charles mcpherson Quartet - Tenor Madness - Club Date
Charles mcpherson Quartet - Crazeology aka Bud's Bubble
Charles mcpherson Quartet - Body And Soul - Club Date
Charles mcpherson Quartet - Club Date w/Randy Porter

Come Play With Me
Manhattan Nocturne
Be-Bop Revisited
Charles McPherson With Strings "A Tribute to Charlie Parker"
Live at the Cellar

The World of Max Roach pt.II- by Bill Mithoefer

In 1960, Roach would record what would become his magnum opus, an unprecedented attempt to fuse his African-American social concerns with a spoken word/instrumental jazz suite, “Freedom Now Suite – We Insist!” The recording included Coleman Hawkins, arguably one of the inventors of the tenor saxophone solo, trombonist Julian Priester and trumpeter Booker Little, brass players who, like Sonny Rollins, approached free jazz with a firm foundation in bebop, the Nigerian percussionist, Michael Olatunji (later Babatunde Olatunji,) and the singer Abbey Lincoln (incidentally, his wife.) This 7-part collaboration with Oscar Brown, Jr. prefigured later works by Archie Shepp, John Coltrane, Julius Hemphill, Charles Mingus and even the Bill Jones/Arnie Zane dance ensemble. Although not particularly commercially successful, Roach laid his career on the line in an ambitious attempt to directly infuse his musical innovations with a social conscience.

Roach’s friend and associate Charles Mingus had already laid to vinyl tunes such as “Fables of Faubus,” “Put Me In That Dungeon,” and “Prayer For Passive Resistance,” direct social commentaries on the African-American desire for emancipation. Roach’s longer work was probably the first attempt at producing a longer work dealing with these issues.

Roach was evolving musically as well, while continuing to record more straight ahead albums with musicians such as Tommy and Stanley Turrentine, he was now providing the rhythmic accompaniment for the extemporaneous adventures of Booker Little and Eric Dolphy. With an acerbic tone and exuberantly audacious technique on Alto Saxophone, Flute, and Bass Clarinet, Dolphy helped catalyze Mingus’ further development of his “street music” and would become involved in some of John Coltrane’s early sixties concerts as well as his ambitious longer written work, Africa/Brass. His playing can immediately provoke arguments amongst horn players who might agree on most other aspects of taste, but, like Trane, he would organize his solos with rhythmically complex compound figures which must have been quite stimulating for a drummer of the calibre of Max Roach.

As the ‘60’s progressed, Roach would record with Afro-centric pianist Randy Weston and incorporate Mal Waldron into his own ensembles. He was still recording with Duke Ellington and would make a fantastic record with Charles Mingus and the pianist entitled “Money Jungle.” Naturally focussed on Ellington’s works, this record is unique in sound. Mingus had extensively studied Ellington’s music and there was no better drummer to contribute to it’s minimalistic impressionism than Roach. The band sounds as if they were simply running through the compositions, with sublime performances on such notable tunes as “African Flower,” “Warm Valley,” and “Solitude.” Their superhuman communication sounds fresh and modern even today.

In the late ‘60’s, while Roach continued to tour with earlier associates such as Sonny Rollins and Howard McGhee, he would continue to expand the horizons in his bands, featuring horn players such as trumpeters Freddie Hubbard and Charles Tolliver, and saxophonists Steve Lacy and Odean Pope. With open mind and open ears, Roach continued to innovate behind the drum kit. Like Miles Davis, Roach would continue to mirror both society at large and stay in the vanguard of historical developments in the jazz world. Their difference, it might be argued, is that Roach paid less attention to fashion, commercialism and celebrity, preferring to continue an unpretentious no-nonsense approach to innovating both in the music called jazz and as a technician on the drums.

By the early ‘70’s, electric instrumentation, along with rock and funk, had become deeply entrenched in the mainstream entertainment industry. While many musicians embraced the development of fusion, an attempt to form a hybridized music featuring rhythmic elements from all three genres with the focus on improvisation defining jazz, quite a few including Roach, who had incorporated innovations from free jazz would maintain a staunch acoustic purity in their music. His curiosity, however, would not rest as he continued to experiment with unusual instrumentation, founding the innovative percussion ensemble, M’Boom.

Some of the musicians who would embrace the electric instrumentation of fusion, would capitalize quite successfully on these developments, with lucrative major label recording contracts. But Roach and other purists would become early founders of Jazz education in the american university system. He worked tirelessly to continue promoting jazz as a forum for African-American dignity and social consciousness and continued to experiment musically, yet ignoring the consequences, from an economic standpoint. He would continue to record the odd bebop record, while also playing with Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor and Anthony Braxton.

The eighties would bring Max Roach’s double quartet to fruition. Tireless in his creativity, he would make records with string quartets, even a symphony orchestra. He would become a Macarthur fellow in 1988, recognized for his individual talent and pursuit of creativity in the arts. Until 2002, he continued to tour the world presenting his solo drum performances and iconoclastic bands.

I was lucky enough to witness a performance in Oakland in the early ‘90’s. For what must have been an hour, Roach took his drum kit through the paces, schooling the audience on his rhythmic conception that had taken us through bebop, hard bop, and free jazz. After what must have been a full hour, his band, Odean Pope, Cecil Bridgewater and Tyrone Brown fired the energy up to a higher level. The music had more in common with Cecil Taylor than Charlie Parker, and I would leave that night both thoroughly satisfied and completely drained.

After writing this article, I realized that Max Roach was far more central to the history of Jazz than I might have imagined. He probably paid a price for his refusal to kowtow to the forces of commercialism and his outspoken views on race and social issues. After all is said and done, he could never be accused of either resting on his laurels or “selling out.”

A quick note on the pitfalls I may have fallen into writing this piece. 1) I understand that jazz is predominantly live music, but recordings are the documents one must refer to in writing about music. 2) Even the term “jazz” itself is problematic as a brief look at Bird’s blindfold test for Downbeat will point out. It’s all music, and as he says, one can get in the right frame of mind to listen to just about anything. 3) A 4 page two-part article is almost by definition reductionistic, but I hope that I’ve at least distilled some of the essence of what Max Roach accomplished over a long and inspiring life.

Cheers, Bill Mithoefer, Portland, OR 2007


Do you really need to memorize Jazz licks?

Maurizio Miotti, a regular reader from Rome, wrote in with a great question.

He says,
  • " My saxophone teacher tells me that I can study music theory and harmony, but if I want to improvise jazz music I have to listen, memorize and play “jazz phrases”. The same situation with learn a new language: you can study grammar but when you talk with someone, you have to use idiomatic expressions because grammar is a set of theoretical roles (sometimes “a little distant” from the current language) and pre-defined phrases are more efficient for communication."
This a very good analogy. Jazz is a universal language that is spoken all over the world. I can go to Poland and call All the Things on the stand and immediately be speaking the same language as the band musically. Licks are very much like idiomatic expressions, they are the elements of a musical language that can be understood the world over. Many licks are favorite patterns developed by an influential player. These are often forever tied to this player as signature licks. Everybody knows exactly who these licks came from as soon as you play them. Yes, Bird and Trane live, because everyone is still playing their shit!

Other licks a
re what I call 'Public Domain' licks. These are pattern and lines that can't really be tracked down to any particular player. These are the first licks that young players memorize as they learn to improvise. Most diminished and whole tone patterns are in this class. These licks are your garden variety stale old Be-bop licks. David Baker has done a wonderful job cataloging these public domain licks in his 'How to Play Bebop' books. These are licks are tried and true, good as gold and oldies but goodies. Everyone has heard these expressions, but they still carry a strong meaning are are understood by everyone who speaks the language. By learning public domain licks you learn how to construct logical and meaningful lines, they can also act as fillers when you aren't feeling totally spontaneous.

If you were to speak using nothing but idiomatic expressions you'd sound ridiculous.

It would be like an albatross round your neck if you thought it was all the rage to jump on the bandwagon with the rank and file who play nothing but licks, thinking they were real deal and the creme de la creme. In all honesty these dime a dozen bean counters make me lose my lunch!

Get my drift?

Like idioms, licks are meaningful elements of a musical language, but they can and usually are overused. I once heard Donny McCaslin say that you need to learn all the common licks so that you don't ever have to play them. Many professional players never get past the point of playing nothing but licks, we would call these guys totally derivative or BOOOOOORING. True, some great licks never get old, no matter how many time you hear them, but some dumb licks can make a great player sound corny and hokey in an instant.

It also d
epends on location. You might get away with playing an old Bebop line in Idaho that would evoke groans from an audience in the East Village. The less the listener knows about Jazz, the better these corny-ass lines sound, because they haven't heard every beginning soloist play them already. You can fool an uneducated audience into thinking that you're can really play by stringing a bunch of stale licks together, it's a fast way to sound like you're playing Real Jazz. Is this really creative? Some would argue that it is and that the goal is to sound good, and playing lots of licks helps you sound good. Many, many players take this way of playing to the extreme and play nothing but licks that they have memorized. They are happy to regurgitate dumb licks for their entire career.

There are different approaches that teachers take with students with regards to learning licks.
The fir
st approach is to have the student memorize a ton of licks in every key. The great disadvantage to this approach is that the student ends up sounding redundant by repeating the exact same lick in many different keys during a solo. Also if the student never breaks free of this mode of learning they end up sounding totally generic. There is also no cohesion in the player's solos, just a bunch of unrelated parts.

  • "That guy sounds like every other tenor player, but no one in particular"
I have my students work out of books like David Baker's How to Play Bebop in order to get them hearing how lines are constructed and also to give them ideas about how to construct their own lines. To me licks are like training wheels that you eventually take off once you've learned how to improvise your own original lines. Even great players sometimes break out an old Bebop lick once and a while, maybe as a nod to a favorite player or for some kind of effect. Sure, I use elements of the many different licks that I've memorized over the years, but only small parts of these licks. Now I use licks as templates from which to build my own lines. I do sound like a Bebop player when I play Bebop because I've incorporated the vernacular of Bebop into my playing over the years. You can hear Bird, Cannonball and many other players in there, but you'd probably be hard pressed to pick out exactly which line came from which player. When I was younger you probably could pick out many Bird phrases in my solos, but as I get older I've created more of my own personal vernacular. The biggest reason players like Pops, Bird, Trane and Woody Shaw were innovators was that they created their own personal language that was so compelling that it influenced players for years to come. Their personal idioms became the public domain licks that everyone else incorporated into their own playing.

How is the evolution of the language of Jazz much like the evolution of language? Once in a while a particularly strong personality comes along, say like a Snoop Dog, and suddenly everyone is putting 'izzle' on the the end of words. Sometimes these fo'shizzles and mo'nizzles pass like fads, other times they work their way into the language and end up in Webster's dictionary or maybe even spoken on the lips of the queen of England.

Yusef Lateef used to tell his students that it is never too early to start developing an original sound and style. The idea that you must first learn all the idiomatic Jazz licks before you can really start creating an original style is total BULLSHIT.

You can be working on your own unique way of playing from the very beginning by learning to make everything you absorb your own. Yes, practice the public domain licks and patterns, but as you learn them put your own twist on them. Displace a note here and there, change a rhythm, leave a note out, add an accidental, just do something to it. Take different pieces of patterns and combine them in unusual ways. I have my students look at David Baker's ii-V7 licks (the ones that are all in the same key and stacked one above the other) and play the ii-7 bar from one lick and a V7 bar from another lick. I have them try all different V7 resolutions with the same ii-7 bar. Then I might have them play the same ii-7 bar and play an improvised V7 using a diminished scale, then a whole-tone, then an altered dominant, ect. Then I have them play different ii-7 bars while keeping the same V7 resolution the same.

You don't have to wait until you've mastered the Jazz language to start creating your own personal idioms. On the other hand if you create a personal language that has no relationship at all to the languages that everyone else is speaks then no one will be able to converse with or understand you. Remember Steve Martin's routine when he talks about wanting to have a kid and teach him to speak random gibberish for laughs?

It all comes down to balance. A good balance between original and idiomatic material is essential in order to sound fresh and still sound like you're grounded in the Jazz tradition. You don't want to alienate the other musicians or your audience by playing the music of the spheres all night. You also don't want to sound like the you sleep with the Omnibook under your pillow
(which I thoroughly approve of by the way) or that the only record you own is Heavy Metal Bebop.

Why bother even pulling out your horn if you're just going to play licks that you memorized from records and books? Respect the tradition by adapting it's idioms and making them your own own, not by being stuck playing nothing but music from before 1957. Take a chance and be creative, even at the expense of sounding sloppy and bad once in a while. Try not to use long licks, instead only use short fragments.

Innovate as you emulate. It's possible to sound very original without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  • Foshizzle Monizzle?

How to Play Bebop - Volume 1


Bird Lives- the end all and be all site for Bird lovers

If you love Charlie Parker then you have to check out the Bird Lives web site.

This site from the UK is the most complete source of information about the great innovator. Along with all the biographical information there are interviews, including a Downbeat blindfold test, MP3s of live concerts and radio shows, galleries of photographs, streaming videos of TV shows, 53 downloadable transcriptions, links and much more.

The authors says of the site,"Ultimately, this site hopes to offer a concise and accurate account of Bird's life and work in order to correct much misinformation currently available in literature and on the internet."

Someone once said there are only two forms of Jazz; before Charlie Parker and after Charlie Parker.

The World of Max Roach- by Bill Mithoefer

Loyal reader Bill Mithoefer took it upon himself to write this bio of Max Roach, who recently passed away. Thanks Bill!

Born in Newland, North Carolina on the 10th of January in 1924, Max Roach spent his formative years in Brooklyn, New York. When he was 19 and 20, Roach played in the bands of Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins. At 21, he became the eye of the storm that was the bebop revolution, developing a fluid poly-rhythmic style that would underpin the seminal bebop recordings of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and the fascinating swing/bebop hybrid stylings of Dexter Gordon and Don Byas.

To listen to Roach’s oeuvre is to follow the history of jazz, and to reflect on the restless stylistic innovations undertaken by the music’s greatest practitioners. On his first date with Charlie Parker, Roach held time and blasted through Parker’s reworking of “Cherokee,” “Koko,” a musical tour de force.


His style revolved around building up a layer of rhythms, focusing as much attention on a song’s melody as on the beat. Roach responded rapidly and intuitively to both soloists’ ideas and the underlying rhythmic flow, initiating a conversation with the other musicians that other drummers initially found challenging. His elevation of the drums to the foreground and center of small ensembles was exploited to full advantage by later drummers such as Art Blakey, Roy Haynes and Elvin Jones, but much of the early innovation came from Roach’s reconstruction and revolution of Kenny Clark’s earlier work.

In 1946, Roach was involved in Bird’s ill-fated solo on Howard McGhee’s recording of “Loverman,” which some consider his worst recording and others find to be his most brilliant in it’s sheer pathos, an honest reflection of a saxophonist’s low point. Loverman
In 1947, Roach underpinned the rhythm in Bird’s recording of “Donna Lee,” Miles Davis’ reworking of a Fats Navarro melody, arguably one of the most highly studied tunes by students of bop.

By 1946, Roach was involved in Davis’ first attempts to render a softer impressionistic touch in his “Birth of the Cool” recordings. Roach’s sensitivity as a drummer, already evident on Parker vehicles such as “Embraceable You,” and “Parker’s Mood,” added a deeper dimension to these mellifluous recordings. He also had his first sessions as a leader, with James Moody and Kenny Dorham which included the interesting meditation on “All The Things You Are,” entitled “Prince Albert.” When 1950 rolled around, Roach had already recorded and gigged with the likes of Sarah Vaughn, Dizzy Gillespie, J.J. Johnson, Stan Getz, Bud Powell, Fats Navarro, Lee Konitz, Sonny Stitt, Flip Phillips and Kai Winding.

The early fifties saw Roach continuing his fruitful association with Charlie Parker, while helping the bop founders progress in a series of recordings with Thelonius Monk and Sonny Rollins. Monk was still considered fairly “outside” by modern jazz critics, but Roach’s open mind and innovative approach enabled him to augment Monk’s polyphonic piano rhythms on early recordings such as “Trinkle Tinkle,” and “Reflections.”

One of the distinctions that set Max Roach apart from some of his peers, was his attention to the social amelioration and recognition of African-Americans in America society. As saxophonist Jimmy Heath explained, “It was his technique, and his concepts were so innovative. But he wasn’t only a drummer. The thing about Max was he was always fighting for the rights of African-American people, that we were creative, worthy people.” Heath recalled an incident when Mr. Roach took to the stage at a Miles Davis show with a protest sign, “something to do with Africa or black people,” and “Miles was like, ‘Man, why did you have to do that during my set?’”

He participated in the early recordings of Gil Melle, the innovative saxophonist, and used Hank Mobley on his early recordings as a leader. In 1953 Max Roach made one of the first drum solo recordings, with “Drum Conversations,” recorded live at Massey Hall, along with the famous “The Quintet” recording featuring Charles Mingus, Bird, Dizzy, and Bud Powell. This was released on a label founded by Roach and Mingus in 1953, Debut records . In an unprecedented move, the two musicians started this small label and continued to release high quality jazz through 1958, when they sold the company and its catalog to the fantasy label. Roach continued to contribute to Miles Davis, Lee Konitz, and Bud Powell albums throughout the year.

In 1954, Clifford Brown and Max Roach founded the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet. A cross-fertilization of bebop and Miles Davis’ cool jazz helped precipitate a style mysterious in its timbral conceptions, with the fiery solos typical of bebop. Some jazz historians and critics consider their association to have produced the first “hard bop” recordings, funkier, with a harder hitting rhythm than earlier bebop styles. It could be easily be argued that Art Blakey’s work from the earlier part of the ‘50’s with Horace Silver, Clifford Brown and Lou Donaldson could just as easily qualify. Interestingly both
men spent the late ‘40’s and early ‘50’s playing with Bird and Monk, although Roach spent more time playing with Bird and Blakey more time with Monk. Jazz music was evolving at such a rapid pace, with constant fertilization and cross-pollination, that such arguments might be considered moot. One just needs to listen to Dexter Gordon, Hank Mobley and others’ recordings of this time period to see why.

The Brown/Roach quintet toured the country incessantly until 1956, and during this time made amazing recordings. In particular, “The Blues Walk,” “Jordu” and “Daahoud” prefigured Miles Davis’ and John Coltrane’s modal experiments of the later fifties. He would also make excellent music with the idiosyncratic piano player and excellent songwriter Herbie Nichols.

During this tour, the band encountered Sonny Rollins, who was working a job not involving playing the saxophone. Inviting Sonny back on stage, he re-entered the arena, playing on several Brown/Roach r
ecordings and recording some of his masterpieces of the mid to late fifties. Together Rollins and Roach would record Sonny Rollins + 4, and Saxophone Colossus. “Blue 7” off of the latter album is a prime example of the rhythmic dialogue between the two musicians. Both Rollins and Roach contributed to Monk’s fantastic album “Brilliant Corners,” featuring the eclectic alto sound of Ernie Henry and the extraordinary performances typified by the improvisations on the angular melody of the title track. 1956 was also the year he recorded on Johnny Griffin’s first album.

Roach finished out the latter part of the fifties continuing to record with his own quintet, sometimes featuring Sonny Rollins and the great trumpeter Booker Little. He would make his first recording with Abbey Lincoln and deliver the goods on Rollins’ “Freedom Jazz Suite.” These works were becoming harmonically looser, as the focus on the chordal structures of the bebop era gave way to the forms that would typify free jazz. His work from this period would culminate in one of his great achievements of 1960, which will start part 2 of this posting.

Research for this article was mostly performed with an excellent discography located at: http://www.jazzdisco.org/max/dis/c/#500126


Herb Pomeroy- the master of Jazz passes

If I had to pick one person who taught me the most about music and about life in general it would have to be Herb Pomeroy. Herb was a master at so many different things. His mastery of the art of Jazz improvisation was a magical thing, he may not have had the greatest chops in the world but I've never heard anyone improvise like Herb.
Because he was also a master composer and arranger he developed his solos like symphonies. Every phrase was related to the phase before it
and after it. He was a person who had high standards of personal integrity, this was also reflected in his music. His music was real, it contained real emotions that he wasn't afraid to reveal to others. He was always fresh, because improvising to him meant creating new ideas in the moment. He didn't let himself fall back on licks and patterns, every note he played had to fit perfectly with what was happening at that moment. Aside from his mastery of everything musical, the thing about him that never ceased to amaze me was the way he led a band. He had a total mastery of psychology which allowed him to get each musician in his band to do exactly what he wanted. He took a totally different approach with everyone according to their temperament. With some guys he was a hard-ass, with others he would subtly suggest to them what he wanted. He knew how to get the very best out of each person. He made you want to work as hard as you could for him because he always worked the hardest out of everyone in the band. Herb was the modern day Duke Ellington, and he knew Duke's music better than anyone alive. Like Duke Herb knew how to write for individuals, not just instruments. He knew all the strengths and weaknesses of every player in his band and he made allowances for everything. Like Duke he had a magnanimous personality that inspired love and devotion from his musicians.

I spent three years with Herb, at least four hours a week, and sometimes more if I was in one of his small combos or in his line writing band. He taught me that music was deathly serious and it is worth your entire focus, commitment and concentration. It was not to be taken lightly and he certainly did not put up with people who did. He also taught me that music is something that is so wonderful that it's worth dedicating one's entire life to. It is an honor and a high privilege to have known Herb and to have played music with him. He was one of the last of the true living masters of Jazz.

Don't Blame Me- Bird at Storyville w/Herb Pomeroy

Gloucester native Herb Pomeroy a jazz giant who passed gift of music to others

By Douglas A. Moser , Staff writer
Gloucester Daily Times

He never let any of his students or colleagues forget that making music is a joy and a privilege.

Judging from his own maxim and the testimony of those close to him, Irving "Herb" Pomeroy III crafted himself an existence of joy and did what he could to share it with the world around him, whether it be music or life itself.

The renowned jazz trumpeter and teacher, Gloucester born and raised, died at his home on Rust Island on Saturday afternoon after a series of bouts with cancer. He was 77.

A celebration of Pomeroy's life and music will be held at 3 p.m. Sept. 9 at Emmanuel Church on Newbury Street in Boston.

"As a daughter I appreciated him being the Rock of Gibraltar, and it's eye-opening to me at this point how far-reaching his effect was," Perry Pomeroy, 49 of Hamilton, said. "I knew that he was loved, that wasn't a surprise. It was the intimacy he offered to people everywhere. He was capable of global intimacy somehow."

Guitarist Anthony Weller said Sunday, before playing a concert at Stage Fort Park leading the Herb Pomeroy Trio in its namesake's stead, that Pomeroy's influence touched a generation of musicians while he taught at Berklee School of Music in Boston, directed the Festival Jazz Ensemble at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and played shows for decades both locally and around the world.

A jazz star while still in his early 20s, Pomeroy played trumpet with the Charlie Parker Quintet in Boston in the early 1950s and blew trumpet and flugelhorn with the likes of jazz legends such as Lionel Hampton and Stan Kenton and the Duke Ellington Orchestras. He backed vocalists Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dionne Warwick and Sarah Vaughn. And his successful students, to name a very few, include jazz luminaries Keith Jarrett, Gary Burton and Joshua Redman, Weller said.

Musicians around the world, upon hearing of Pomeroy's recent ill turn of health, sent dozens upon dozens of cards wishing him well and a speedy recovery. Family members said they have received cards and letters from those he taught, those he played with, and "we're not just talking people he was close to, but guys he taught at MIT 30 years ago that are writing these and talking about how he so affected their lives and his influence on them," said son Eden Pomeroy.

Roughly 25 cards have been arriving daily, he said, and 35 came yesterday.

Eden and Perry Pomeroy remember a father first, however, and a musician and teacher, busy engaging the globe, second.

"No matter what was going on, my lunch money would appear on my dresser every night, no matter how late he was working," Perry Pomeroy said. "It was one of the little things that meant so much. He was always there. He was very good at taking care of business for us."

Eden Pomeroy, 41 and now living in Florida, recalled summer camping and fishing trips to northern New Hampshire, playing catch to practice for Little League baseball and going to Red Sox and Bruins games.

"We did the stuff that didn't have to do with music, which I cherish because he was so busy," he said. "That's what I love about my dad. We had a relationship that was separate from all the hoopla."

Neither Eden, a sales representative, nor Perry, an art teacher, delved deeply into music. Eden Pomeroy said he played the clarinet as a youngster, but gave it up - without resistance from his father.

"He allowed me to do what I wanted to do," he said. "I played clarinet by my own choice, and when I didn't like it any more, I stopped."

Eden suspects that mentality came from Herb Pomeroy's own upbringing, where his grandfather and father, both dentists named Irving H. Pomeroy, groomed him to follow their professional path. After three years at Gloucester High School, Irving H. the Third transferred to Williston Academy in East Hampton to prepare for college and graduated in 1949.

Herb Pomeroy spent one year at Harvard University and left, both the school and the chosen path, to join with the Parker Quintet in Boston.

His love of music, Perry Pomeroy said, came from his mother, Alice, a semiprofessional pianist.

"He was also exposed to Louis Armstrong at a young age, probably also from his mother, and he was blessed with extraordinary talent," Perry Pomeroy said. "It was those three things."

Shortly after, he formed his own band, the Herb Pomeroy Big Band, and traveled the United States to play in Boston, New York, New Orleans and other jazz hot spots.

In 1955, Pomeroy started teaching at Schillinger House, which would become Berklee School of Music, in Boston and stayed on the faculty for 40 years.

"He had the soul of the music in his heart when he played," said Ken Pullig, chairman of the jazz composition department at Berklee, and a former student of Pomeroy's. "Herb was the iconic Berklee figure for many years."

Pomeroy married his first wife, Betty, a jazz singer from Columbus, Ga., in 1957.

His musical stature grew, and in 1963, MIT asked Pomeroy to salvage its jazz ensemble. He joined as the director of the Festival Jazz Ensemble, drawing interest and talent and turned the struggling band into a global award winner. He remained there until 1985.

He was inducted into the International Association of Jazz Educators Hall of Fame in 1996, and into the Down Beat Jazz Education Hall of Fame the following year.

Pomeroy winterized the family's summer home on Rust Island in 1986 and moved from Brookline, where the family had lived during the winters, to live in Gloucester full-time.

"He never lost his connection to Gloucester and what it meant to him," Perry Pomeroy said. "He was born there, he spent most of his life there, and that's where he wanted to be when he died."

Anne Strong, a lifetime Rust Island resident who had been the Pomeroys' neighbor since Herb and Betty, who died in 1982, bought the home in 1968, said she will miss hearing him warming up before leaving for a gig.

"I grew up with his children," she said. "Once I saw him play in Copley Square with his big band when I was 12. Afterward, being very much the smart alec, I asked him for an autograph. He found a piece of paper and a pen and signed it, 'Eden's father.'"

Pomeroy remarried in 1991, wedding Dorothy "Dodie" Gibbons, originally of Buffalo, N.Y.

Just after he moved back to Gloucester, he started playing concerts in Stage Fort Park, a tradition that continued to the day after his death, when Weller, the guitarist in the Herb Pomeroy Trio, led a tribute. Pomeroy used his talent to raise money for community organizations and benefits.

"He was generous, with his continuing to help, whether it's the Cape Ann Historical Society, going into the schools, playing local restaurants," said Mayor John Bell, whose family was close to Pomeroy. "He shared his professionalism, his creativity and his talent with the community."

Besides music, his children said Herb Pomeroy was an avid sports fan, and while he loved the Red Sox, the Inter-Town Baseball League and Gloucester High School football were more dear.

"After I moved to Florida, when I'd talk to him on the phone, he'd give me updates on how the Fishermen were doing," Eden Pomeroy said.

As salaries and egos spiraled ever upward in baseball, Perry Pomeroy said her father preferred the amateur league for its integrity, for athletes playing for the sport as opposed to the money or fame.

"Gloucester High School football, Inter-Town Baseball, he found those to be sports in the purest form," she said.

Harold "Bucky" Rogers, president of Cape Ann Savings Bank, which helped sponsor the Stage Fort Park concerts, recalled Pomeroy's love for and encyclopedic knowledge of the Red Sox, and of his disillusionment with the direction the sport took.

"I remember him talking about the large salaries the professional players made, and then how he enjoyed going to the Inter-Town League and watching baseball at its purest," he said.