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JJA Names Priester Jazz Hero

JJA Names Priester Jazz Hero

: Julian Priester receives "Jazz Hero" award from Jim Wilke..

JJA Names Priester Jazz Hero

: Paul de Barros honors Julian Priester..

JJA Names Priester Jazz Hero

: Kent Devereaux (L) and Chuck Deardorf speak at award ceremony..

JJA Names Priester Jazz Hero

: Dawn Clement lauds Priester at award presentation..

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The Jazz Journalists’ Association names Cornish prof and trombonist Julian Priester a “Jazz Hero” for 2013. one of 25 selected from across America.

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Professor Emeritus Julian Priester has been teaching trombone and jazz composition at Cornish since 1979. But Priester’s influence has been felt not only at the college, but throughout the Seattle community. On April 30, at Seattle jazz hotspot Tula’s, he received the warm thanks of the area’s jazz lovers with a “Jazz Hero” award. Jim Wilke, the nationally syndicated host of the radio program Jazz After Hours, presented the award on behalf of the Jazz Journalists Association. Cornish department head Kent Devereaux spoke in tribute, as did members of the jazz faculty, Professor Chuck Deardorf, piano instructor Dawn Clement and jazz history instructor and Seattle Times journalist Paul de Barros.

“Julian has contributed to the local jazz community in so many ways,” says Devereaux of Julian Priester, “as a performer, composer, teacher, and mentor. He’s also been a tremendous colleague who’s made an incalculable impact on the lives of scores of Cornish students over the past thirty-plus years.”   

The annual awards go to an elite group of 25 across the nation who have forwarded the art. “JJA ‘Jazz Heroes’ are activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz who have had significant impact in their local communities,” writes the organization. “The ‘Jazz Hero’ awards, made on the basis of nominations from community members, are presented in conjunction with the Jazz Journalists Association’s annual Jazz Awards honoring significant achievements in jazz music and journalism.”

In his long and distinguished career in music, Priester played with many of the greats, beginning with stints in his teens playing with blues and R&B legends Muddy Waters, Dinah Washington, and Bo Diddley in his native Chicago. He went on to play with Sun Ra’s big band, Lionel Hampton, Max Roach, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Blue Mitchell, Art Blakey, Joe Henderson, John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Charles Mingus, Johnny Griffin, and Sam Rivers. Once settled in Seattle, Priester continued to perform as both a bandleader and sideman including tours with Sun Ra, Gary Peacock, the Dave Holland Quintet, Lester Bowie’s New York Organ Ensemble, and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra. His compositions have been recorded by Sun Ra, Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock, Philly Jo Jones, Lee Morgan, Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, Clifford Jordan, and Dave Holland. His own music can be heard on the Riverside, ECM, and Conduit record labels.

For more on Julian Priester, read Earshot’s profile: Julian Priester: Spirit Child.


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