The Greek root of the word "hero" is akin to the Latin "seruare" meaning "to serve" and the Greek goddess Hera as "protector." The Jazz Journalist Association selection of Julian Priester as a Jazz Hero officially recognizes the Seattle based trombonist/composer/improviser/educator as a devoted protector of jazz. Priester's lifelong career connects sophisticated swinger Duke Ellington to astral explorer Sun Ra, bebop pioneer Max Roach and genre chameleon Herbie Hancock. In Seattle, Priester's four decades teaching at Cornish College of the Arts spread his accumulated wisdom to future generations.
Radio broadcaster Jim Wilke presented the JJA Jazz Hero award to Priester at Tula's jazz club in Seattle in front of an intimate gathering of friends and fans on April 30, 2013, International Jazz Day. Several attendees took the stage to praise Priester's work. Kent Devereaux, Music Department Chair at Cornish, remembered Priester teaching him as an undergraduate in the 1970's. Chuck Deardorf, Professor at Cornish, admired Priester's ability to maximize teaching with minimal speaking. Deardorf demonstrated Priester's technique of emphasizing a lesson by slightly tipping his head forward and glaring over the top of his wire frame glasses. Journalist Paul De Barros admired Priester's moving tradition forward through fresh sounds and new collaborations. Tom Varner, Assistant Professor at Cornish, mentioned Priester's nurturing respect during Varner's early career tour with George Gruntz. Band mate Dawn Clement appreciated Priester's knack for bringing out the best in those around him.
Priester took the microphone and addressed the audience in his quiet rasp. He was overwhelmed by the award and would continue to "give back the joy and knowledge" of music to others. "I look forward to meeting on the bandstand," Priester said. As an improviser concerned with what comes next, Priester asked the crowd, "Dinner anyone?"
Visit https://www.facebook.com/julian.priester to read more about Julian.