Festival Jazz Ensemble-11th Annual Herb Pomeroy Memorial Concert

11th Annual Herb Pomeroy Memorial Concert
MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble
Frederick Harris Jr., music director
Claire Daly, guest baritone saxophonist

To honor Herb Pomeroy, MIT’s “Father of Jazz” and founder of MIT’s jazz performance program, the Festival Jazz Ensemble will feature music associated with Herb and special guest baritone saxophonist Claire Daly. Also featured will be the world premiere of Peter Godart's “Sower’s Parable” with lyrics by Ricky Richardson, ’12, performed by FJE and MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble and additional vocalists.

8pm, Kresge Auditorium.  
Admission: $5.  Free in advance to the MIT community.  

Claire Daly grew up in Yonkers, NY, affording her access to many jazz greats performing live in NYC. Her father supported her enthusiasm about the music and brought her to many live shows including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton, Earl "Fatha" Hines, Benny Goodman and more. At the same time, she was hearing contemporary music with her peers at venues like The Schaeffer Music Festivals in Central Park. Her taste runs from the classics through the avant garde, and Claire still believes in the importance of hearing live music regularly.

She graduated Berklee College of Music as an alto player and traveled on the road with both jazz and rock bands, but her life changed significantly the first time she played a baritone sax. It happened to be the first horn Howard Johnson had owned, for sale by a mutual friend. "It was an epiphany. I felt like, There I am – this is my voice." Claire hasn’t looked back and has become a well known, leading voice on the big horn.

Her first CD as a leader was released on Koch Jazz in 1999. "Swing Low" was received very warmly. Claire was nominated by the Jazz Journalist Association for "Best New Artist of the Year" and Swing Low was subsequently added to a listening station in the William Jefferson Clinton Library in Little Rock, AK as a CD significant to the President while in office. 

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 contributions to students. In addition to teaching at Berklee, MIT, Harvard, Brandeis and countless colleges and universities in teh US, he adjudicated numerous regional and national jazz competitions.