This album was recorded in 1960 and is jazz trombonist Julian Priester’s debut album as a leader. It is a straight mellow hard bop album with a plenty of character. There aren’t many long solos and that explains why the whole album is only 36 minutes long. But by no means, does it reflect to be a short lived recording. “Keep Swingin‘” is straight to the point but with plenty of feeling behind it and with great cast supporting him, as you will read in the short description below. Julian Priester was a real master and has an incredible resume, you can will find that below in his biography. Finally, there’s an interesting profile article below also, concerning his retirement from Cornish College, where he taught music, learn more, enjoy!
About the album:
Trombonist Julian Priester sounds very much under the influence of J.J. Johnson during his debut as a leader, a Riverside date reissued on CD in the Original Jazz Classics series. The repertoire is comprised of four Priester originals, one apiece by Jimmy Heath (whose tenor makes the group a quintet on five of the eight songs) and baritonist Charles Davis, and two standards.…..Read More
Great profile article by Steve Griggs (Earshot.org):
Outside room 209, on the second floor of Kerry Hall at Cornish College, flattened cardboard boxes and a hand cart lean against the wall. They await Julian Priester, professor of trombone and jazz history. He retired on May 14 this year with an honorary doctorate of fine arts after thirty-two years of service. With the help of a student, the boxes will transport Priester’s teaching materials from his studio back to his south Seattle home.
Inside the studio, nine boxes full of scores, books, recordings, and trombone mutes clump in the far corner. Sun filters through two tall south facing windows that gaze over the corner of Roy and Boylston streets. Cracked and chipped white paint ornament the stark walls, high ceiling, and radiator. A crisp black Kawai baby grand piano rests atop utilitarian grey industrial carpet.
Silence hangs in the air. On a small chalk board, neatly written scales and rhythms hint at the sounds that filled this studio. Here, and in nearby rehearsal rooms, Priester shared his skills, stories, and studies. A quiet end to this chapter in his career belies the length of experience, depth of artistry, and breadth of creativity Priester carries forward into every situation.
Humility gained from Captain Walter Dyett at Chicago’s DuSable High School, the pit orchestra of New York’s Schubert Theater, and work as an on-call studio musician sets a positive model for students. Practical experience gleaned from Priester’s world travels with Sun Ra, Lionel Hampton, Dinah Washington, Max Roach, Thad Jones, Art Blakey, Duke Ellington, Herbie Hancock, and Dave Holland adds depth to his lessons. Recordings of his compositions by Ray Charles, Maria Muldaur, Patrice Rushen, Abbey Lincoln, Eddie Henderson, Philly Joe Jones, Sam Rivers, Reggie Workman, Stanley Turrentine, Bobby Timmons, Clifford Jordan, and Lee Morgan testify to the significance of studying his written music. An extensive discography……Read More
Julian Priester’s biography (AllMusic.com):
Julian Priester was a versatile and highly advanced trombonist capable of playing hard bop, post-bop, R&B, fusion, or full-on avant-garde jazz; however, he remains under-appreciated due to the paucity of sessions he recorded under his own name. Priester was born in Chicago on June 29, 1935, and started out on the city’s thriving blues and R&B scene, playing with artists like Muddy Waters, Dinah Washington, and Bo Diddley; he also worked with Sun Ra’s early progressive big band outfits during the mid-’50s. In 1958, Priester moved to New York and joined Max Roach’s band, appearing on classics like Freedom Now Suite. In 1960, Priester also recorded two hard bop sessions as a leader, Keep Swingin’ and Spiritsville. After leaving Roach in 1961, Priester appeared often as a sideman on Blue Note dates, recording with the likes of……Learn More