Most people who are lucky enough to survive an organ transplant take a while to get back on their feet. Some may never fully regain their strength. Not so for trombonist Julian Priester (pictured), who, after receiving a liver transplant in 2000, is now helping launch the Seattle-based Conduit label with his first release as a leader in over 25 years. In Deep End Dance, due Sept. 17, features original music and is a mix of free improvisation, ballads and polymetric compositions.
Priester, whose musical career covers more than five decades, was born in Chicago on June 29, 1935. He began his career on the Chicago R&B and blues scene, before joining Sun Ra’s big band in the mid-’50s. In 1958 he relocated to New York, and played and recorded with a number of jazz greats, including Max Roach, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Art Blakey, Joe Henderson and McCoy Tyner. Priester also appears on John Coltrane’s Africa/Brass album, and he had a stint with Duke Ellington in the late ’60s. During the early ’70s Priester played in Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi band, and later he played with Dave Holland, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra and reunited with Sun Ra. Priester’s albums as a leader include Keep Swingin’ (1960, Riverside), Spiritsville (1960, Jazzland), Love, Love (1974, ECM), and Polarization (1977, ECM). In 1997, he co-led a session entitled Hints on Light and Shadow, with saxophonist Sam Rivers.
P>Conduit co-founder Beck Henderer-Pena describes the label as “a forward-thinking label with a focus on musical innovation and exploration. Conduit honors history’s music innovators by supporting and giving voice to musical pioneers today.”