Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Herb Pomerov and Billy Novick: This is Always

Two magnificent examples of chamber jazz: sweet melodies, conversational volume, mellow mood. Novick, mainstay of Boston’s traditional New Black Eagle Jazz Band, teams with Pomeroy, a legendary teacher during four decades at Berklee. A variety of textures and settings: Novick on clarinet and Hodges-influenced alto, Pomeroy on trumpet and fluegelhorn, in a quartet with guitarist John Wheatley and bassist Marshall Wood and quintet with pianist Paul Schmeling and drummer Joe Hunt. Pomeroy is eloquent, but his muted trumpet sometimes veers into Eckstine vibrato-land. Tunes include Barney Bigard’s haunting “A Lull At Dawn;” “This Is Always,” recorded by Bird with Erroll Garner and vocalist Earl Coleman; and Gary McFarland’s “Why Are You Blue?;” strong players, lovely harmony lines, subtle solos.

Novick’s extraordinarily pure clarinet is heard with Guy Van Duser, with whom he has performed for 20 years (and on four other CDs). Van Duser’s graceful (and swinging), finger-picked style is closer to jazz piano than to guitar, and he sings with great charm on the rarely-heard Gus Kahn/Walter Donaldson tune, “When My Ship Comes In.” Novick sings on “Whose Honey Are You?;” other selections include “Indian Summer” and “Moonlight Serenade.” If you dig sophisticated serenity, you’ll love this classic jazz.

Originally Published