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May 1, 2007

Trombonist Julian Priester at Yardbird this Weekend

Written by
cindy mcleod

Jazz music live in Canada

Julian Priester Quartet Appears in Alberta

Chicago-born trombonist Julian Priester visits the Yardbird Suite this weekend with a quartet that features Seattle pianist Dawn Clement and Edmonton jazz greats John Taylor (bass) and Dan Skakun (drums). The quartet will appear on Friday & Saturday, May 5 & at the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton.

The septuagenarian is known for his versatility, spanning the borders of jazz and beyond, encompassing R&B, bebop, hard bop, and progressive and free jazz. Terms such as ‘legendary’ and ‘renowned’ are often used to describe Priester, whose work as a sideman has perhaps prevented him from receiving the accolades he much deserves, yet he is considered a living legend by many in the industry.

Priester attended Chicago’s DuSable High School, where he studied under Walter Dyett. In his teens he played with blues and R&B artists such as Muddy Waters, Dinah Washington, and Bo Diddley, and had the opportunity to jam with jazz players like Max Roach, trumpeter Clifford Brown, and saxophonist Sonny Stitt.

The trombonist’s debut recording “Keep Swinging” (Riverside Records 1960) placed him firmly on the turf of jazz stardom, but his participation in some of the key jazz recordings of the time gained him wide recognition amongst jazz masters such as Sun Ra, whom he worked with in the 50’s, before moving on to tour with Lionel Hampton and then moving to New York to work with Max Roach. His work as leader during that time produced two recordings, Keep Swinging with Jimmy Heath, Tommy Flanagan, Sam Jones and Elvin Jones, and Spiritsville, both released in 1960.

Julian contributed to records with fellow Riverside artists Johnny Griffin and Blue Mitchell, both of whom were Riverside jazz artists, and he was profiled in Downbeat magazine as “Artist Deserving of Wider Recognition”.

After receiving an invitation to join Dave Holland, Julian toured the UK and France with Holland’s band. Priester’s next albums, Summit Conference and Cerebral Caverns, featured an all-star lineup, with Reggie Workman, Sam Rivers, Andrew Hill and Pheeroan Aklaff joining Priester to create a collective intensity and further developing the trombonist ‘s repertoire.

For the Yardbird engagement, Julian is being joined on the bandstand by Seattle pianist/composer, Dawn Clement. Her musical delicacy and vivaciousness has been heard in some of the world’s most premier venues, including Carnegie Hall, Le Conservatoire Superieur in Paris, and Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, as well as numerous clubs (including NYC’S Sweet Rhythm and Tonic), art museums, and theaters.

In August of 2003, Dawn released her first album Hush (Conduit Records). Other highlights include performing at the Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.) as one of the top five finalists in the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano competition (2006), an invitation to compete at the 3rd International Martial Solal Jazz Piano Competition in Paris, France (2002), Earshot Jazz awards for “Best Emerging Artist” (2000), “Best Jazz Quartet” and “Best album” for her performance with the legendary trombonist Julian Priester.

She has performed with such notable artists as Pharaoh Sanders, Nancy King, Ingrid Jensen, Hadley Caliman, Buddy Catlett, John Clayton, Chuck Deardorf, Mercer Ellington, Jane Ira Bloom, Bobby Previte, and Herbie Hancock.

Julian and Dawn will be joined by bassist John Taylor and drummer Dan Skakun for the Edmonton dates.

Friday & Saturday, May 4 & 5
Julian Priester Quartet
Julian Priester (trombone), Dawn Clement (piano), John Taylor (bass), Dan Skakun (drums)
Yardbird Suite, Edmonton

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