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notes from Herb Pomeroy's clinic (lecture) on rehearsal techniques. 10/25/89

- let the musicians correct their own mistakes.

1 run down whole piece

2 ask if players have any questions. not (yet) on concepts, but mechanical things (missing bars, accidentals, etc.)

3 do a second reading (within a minute or two)

- try to "do the fixing in a collective sense"

- don't isolate players; do rehearse sections

- if there's one wrong voicing, have the section play it as a pyramid, top down or bottom up. player will probably hear the wrong note.

-"the player should be the one to decide what the phrasing should be." otherwise it will be more mechanical.

- ex. Wes Hensel, played lead with Herb's band. Before that he was with Les Brown, Hollywood movies. Wes was an excellent interpreter. if Wes didn't want to play it as the writer had marked the phrasing, Herb would never get it that way. "The rehearser must be able to bend for the players."

- mechanics

- Herb has his own abreviations he pencils in

- don't start at top and rehearse bar by bar

- pick one short section that "will teach the concepts of the tune"

- this decision on priorities is very important

- announce why you're rehearsing this section

- be careful when and where you start

- keep everyone in the band involved, especially the rhythm section

- Herb doesn't do more than roughly 5 minutes with the rhythm section out. bring them in -- use any excuse.

- "most people who rehearse a band don't know how to talk to the rhythm section." the concept is broader here. learn how to talk to them. evolve th guitar and piano so that they decide where they're going to comp. "It's usually deadly to have the guitar and piano comp together. Herb loves to talk to drummers. drum speaks faster than horns. sweet spot on cymbal may not mix with colors of horns (near bell too bright for flute/harmon trumpet)

Question: How do you introcuce yourself to the band?

"Be yourself -- and hope it works." do your homework. Know the players as players and as people. know the music. as long as you know what you want and can express it, the players will respond well.


Herb does not believe in tuning up. [!] Pitch is too relative. He doesn't tune to one note, but to a chord as a pyramid, top down, bottom up. Players will hear it. Herb told a story: Hampton making Herb tune the band. don't tune up for the first ten minutes or so.

new topic: subtlety

[Herb told of a person who was in the band and left the band -- I think he was speaking of John Neves -- and was replaced by a younger and much flashier player, who knew that he was not the equal of the man he's replaced. a listener came up to Herb and said of the new player, "That's the first time I've heard any jazz come out of that chair in years." Herb was greatly disturbed by this listeners inability to hear the "subtleties" and bemoaned the easy success of "obviousnesses."

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12/10/88 [notes added later]

Just looking over notes on Herb Pomeroy's lecture in 1A on rehearsal techniques. When I walked in, Herb stopped what he was saying and said, "Hi, Steve." And a few days later I walked up to him on the street to tell him how much I enjoyed his lecture, especially the part about the "obviousnesses." He said, "I always like seeing the guys come in who have been around for a while -- they get more out of it."