FB: Were guys like Joe Levano and Steve Sl??? ex students here?
GH: They had just graduated in '74 or '73. And they were still playin around a lot. Yeah I think that's when I went with Joe and he asked me to go down with Lonnie Smith so I did that . Adn we played some gigs. I met a whole bunch of tremendous musicians. And it really opened up my ears and it opened up my musical thinking to a degree you know. I hadn't imagined. And I started playing a lot more small group stuff. And then I started teaching, which I had no idea how to teach in 1974 at Berklee here.
FB: Well how did you get your pedagogical act together?
GH: Oh it took a while.
FB: I mean did you go in and check out other people's classes? Like who?
GH: Oh yeah. I 'd sneak into their classes to see what they were talkin about. I'd do al ot of research and listening.
FB: Who were your mentors in that area?
GH: I mean this is the place for jazz education. Let's face it this and maybe one other place put it on the map. And I had met John Laporta and he was one of my idols. I used to play his charts in high school. I used to see John at different jazz camps. And then I got to meet John I would hang out in his office a lot. I talked to John. I just listened to him talk actually because you talked to John. You'd say one sentence to John and then it's 10 minutes later he takes a breath, but it's like listening to God talk, so why not? It just goes and goes. Endless ideas creativity warmth and depth. He's influenced a lot of people. A lot of people a lot of players. Yeah John was a major influence.
And then I met Herb Pomeroy. Another one of my you know distant idols who I'd seen but I didn't know. I didn't know. I'd never met him. I met Herb maybe '75, '76, '77. Herb had a big band going.
FB: Sure. The shire record there with John played tenor and you were in the trumpet section.
GH: Yeah. Well originally it was Lou Moochie. Who was another one of idols that I met. I could do an hour on Lou Moochie
FB: One of Laporta's comp eras?, one of his old buddies.
GH: He brought him from New York.They played in New York. they played in New York together. Lou Moochie is the ultimate trumpet player. Sound first of all. Great time. Blend and listens. And always there. He was Gill Levines first call trumpet player. He called Lou first and then if he needed a real high note player he'd call somebody else Ernie Royal.
FB: And if he needed ??? he'd call Johnnie Coles
GH: Yeah. But Lou did that also. But he was so shy he didn't want to improvise too much. But Lou, yeah I would hang out with Lou and I met Wes hensel who was from the West coast that was a whole other slant on things. But Herb had this big band and all my idols were in it. Paul Fontaine, another mentor and idol. West ??? Everet Longstreth, years of big band experience. Who else was in that band? Phil Wilson of course. ??? Trombone real great trombonist named Jean ??? who was just a natural.
FB: Yup. The dentist.
GH: Yup an orthodontist and Vahi ??? bass trombonist who played with ??? band. He played with gill levines in ??? band on the road.
FB: And Jimmy Durba.
GH: You're right Jimmy Durba was the baritone player. He was a genius on the instrument. (FB: Yup.) He was a natural improviser. I think he played by ear mostly and it was just mind boggling. The great talent that was around. Mike ??? another great talent that was around. (FB: Terriffic) Jimmy Mosher played in the band. Dick Johnson played in the band. And then a real a real genius and character and one of the most unique people I've ever met on bass John Nevs. HE just he didn't read the charts that well, but what he played was better than what the people wrote. He was so intuitive and so creative.
FB: Yeah and so mellow and so affable.
GH: Yeah. and talking to John Nevs you just had to go to a different place it was a different universe.
GH: You'd be discussing things and you had no idea what you were talking about but you got a great feeling from what you were talking about. And John was also very abstract, and also a by ear player. What a joy just to be in the middle of that. I'm still a kid basically. I got the experience of being on the road but I'm still learning. I'm still learning.
FB: That's good. That's what pequito said the other day in the ??? Always be ready to change your thoughts and your opinions. Always listen to the students and take in what they're telling you.
GH: Well that's one of the joys and real benefits of teaching at Berklee because you're working with real creative talented people that are natural and you can just kinda steer them in the right direction. You don't have to teach some people that much. (FB: That's right.) Basically you just don't want to... I just don't want get in their way.
FB: Right the proper exposure.
GH: I don't want to stop them.
FB: The proper exposure then stand back.
GH: Yeah. So that's very inspiring and I see them improve and I'm improving too. As far as all that goes. Where were we? Oh yeah Herb's band.
FB: We were with HErb's band with all your mentors the late 70s you made the shire album.
GH: Yeah yeah. And I did keep myw riting going I wrote a lot with Buddy's band. And yeah I kept my writing going and then I joined the band with wayne ??? Wayne ??? had this big band going and he asked me to join it and then he asked me "Why don't you bring your music in?" And so I brought a lot of music in and we started playing it and he said "Well why don't you direct it?" You know Wayne's a wonderful person wonderful trumpet player, loved to play. Just lives to play the trumpet in those days.
FB: You guys had a lot of high profile gigs around town.
GH: We did. We played the Globe jaz festival many times. We played the opening for the Berklee Performance Center. We played... they used to have a series at Copley Square. Where the different big bands around town would play a week. All week in a row. We did those every summer. And then we played at Debbie's jazz club that was like 1976.
FB: Yeahh. Wow. and those Jazz Coalition all night concerts you did those.
GH: 1975. Right. Well they used to, Mark Harvey and Claud Roditi had a big band that worked there. (FB: That's true.)They disbanded and so we went in and played at Debbie's. We used to do once a month there sometimes once a week. Yeah I just kept my writing going. 'Cause I don't know I'm just driven. I was driven at that time to write for big bands. So I kept writing these big band charts. Yeah I sent a few charts out to Buddy and Woody's band played some of the charts, but basically I wrote for myself. And I wrote for my friends. And there were such great people in Boston. So, then I kinda... Wayne wanted to go a different direction and play repertoire. Play Buddy Rich repertoire and I didn't want to do that so, I kind of started my own band and took over that band. And Wayne did the Buddy Rich thing. Although I did some concerts with Buddy Rich music with Wayne which was interesting to relive it, but I didn't want to play it again.
GH: I'd been through that I didn't want to go back to it.
GH: Because my writing as anyone's writing should it just keeps developing. It just keeps going to different levels.
FB: And you need a living enviornment for it.
GH: Oh and I have one. I have the best enviornment. It's just Nirvana. It's heaven. I've had the greatest players. The greatest players in the big band and then the quintet the greatest players in that and then the trio we talked about...