Perfect Album: Band in Boston

In the late 1950s, New England’s answer to Maynard Ferguson was trumpeter Herb Pomeroy. Pomeroy not only was a high-energy jazz player, he also led crack bands of players and soloists. The difference was that while Ferguson was massively prolific as a Hollywood and New York recording artist and performer, Pomeroy was a low-key educator who toured in the Boston area and didn’t record often. The other big difference is that Ferguson often soloed on his band’s recordings. Pomeroy seldom did so, preferring instead to give those opportunities to others.

Those divergences aside, Pomeroy’s album Band in Boston, recorded in November 1958 for United Artists, is flawless. In this regard, it shares that quality with Ferguson’s A Message From Newport, which I posted about last week (go here). Pomeroy had formed the band so top local musicians could get together and blow. The band on the album wasn’t Birdland or Vegas bound nor was it conceived to play college dances. It was a workshop band that provided local musicians with something fun to do in their spare time.

Photo of the Herb Pomeroy Band about c. late 1950s

On Band in Boston, the ensemble consisted of Herb Pomeroy, Lennie Johnson, Augie Ferretti, Bill Berry and Nick Capezuto (tp); Joe Ciavardone, Bill Legan and Gene DiStasio (tb); Dave Chapman and Charlie Mariano (as); Varty Haroutunian and Joe Caruso (ts); Jimmy Mosher (bar); Ray Santisi (p); John Neves (b) and Jimmy Zitano (d).

The album’s songs, composers, arrangers and soloists are:

A Down Home Outing (composed/arranged by Neil Bridge), with solos by Haroutunian, DiStassio and Neves.

The Friar and Dr. Goulding (composed/arranged by Bob Feedman), with solos by Pomeroy, Santisi and Mariano.

On the Other World (composed/arranged by Freedman), with a solo by Mariano.

The Blue Charles (composed/arranged by Freedman), with solos by Santini, Berry and Haroutunian.

Where’s Charlie? (composed/arranged by Pomeroy), with solos by DiStasio and Mosher.

Where’s Paul? (composed by Bob Dogan/arranged by Gordon Brisker), with solos by Johnson, Santisi and Neves.

Woodyn’ You (composed by Dizzy Gillespie/arranged by Arif Mardin), with solos by Berry, Mosher and Zitano.

Lush Life (composed by Billy Strayhorn/arranged by Mardin, with a solo by Berry.

The Green Horn (composed/arranged by Bridge), with solos by DiStassio, Johnson, Mariano and Santisi.

Gypsy in My Soul (composed by Clay Boland/arranged by Freedman, with a solo by Neves.

Pomeroy would record three other big-band albums: Love Is a Many Splendored Gig in 1957 for Roulette, The Band and I, with Irene Kral, for Roulette in 1958, and Pramlatta’s Hips for Shiah in 1980. All are super, but Band in Boston is a cut above.

Herb Pomeroy died in 2007.

JazzWax tracks: You’ll find Herb Pomeroy’s Band in Boston (plus Love is a Many Splendored Gig) as a Fresh Sound download and CD here.

JazzWax clip: Here’s Where’s Charlie?

And here’s Where’s Paul?