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Julian Priester biography
Born in Chicago on June 29 1935, Julian Priester spent his teenage years performing in Chicago's vibrant RnB scene with artists such as Muddy Waters, Dinah Washington and Bo Diddley. In the mid-50s he joined Sun Ra's groundbreaking avant-garde big band. In 1958 Julian split for New York where he joined Max Roach while Roach was involved in recordings such as Freedom Now Suite, an album that combines jazz improvisation with concert hall composition.

In 1960 Priester made his first recordings as a band leader and then joined the Blue Note label as an in-demand session trombonist. While with Blue Note he recorded with Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, Sam Rivers, John Coltrane and others. In the early 70s Julian joined Herbie Hancock's legendary Sextet which combined spacey avant jazz with electronics and psychedic studio production. Splitting from Hancock in 73, Priester continued this style of progressive jazz fusion with two recordings of his own on the ECM label.

In the 80s and 90s Priester worked with Sun Ra's band again, as well as Dave Holland, Charlie Haden and others. In the late 90s he began to record under his own name again, and continues to do so to this day.

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JULIAN PRIESTER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Keep Swingin'
0.00 | 0 ratings
4.03 | 18 ratings
Love, Love
3.14 | 3 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hints on Light and Shadow ( with Sam Rivers)
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Out Of This World ( with Walter Benton)
0.00 | 0 ratings
In Deep End Dance

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Love, Love by PRIESTER, JULIAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.03 | 18 ratings

Love, Love
Julian Priester Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Over a decade after his last solo album, Julian Priester staked out his own territory in the realms of jazz fusion with this esoteric set under his Pepo Mtoto alter ego - a guise he had first adopted in Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi-era band, which had just been dissolved after the completion of Sextant. Although, as in the Mwandishi recordings, Priester and many of his contributors take on Swahili names, I am more reminded of the darker, murkier portions of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew with extensive synthesiser arrangements added, taking the music into deep, spacey realms reminiscent of the work of Priester's former band leader Sun Ra. Priester had clearly learned a lot during the Mwandishi sessions and his prior work in Sun Ra's Arkestra, and uses it all to good effect here.
 Love, Love by PRIESTER, JULIAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.03 | 18 ratings

Love, Love
Julian Priester Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars If you like Herbie Hancock's album Sextant, then you will most likely enjoy this as well. Julian Priester was a member of Hancock's Mwandishi line-up as well as having his own history in Jazz. Like the Mwandishi albums the music here is spacey, electric jazz. This type of music is sometimes referred to as "kosmigroove." Love, Love is slightly more traditional jazz than the Mwandishi albums. Priester's main instrument is trombone but here he also plays percussion and synthesizers. The only other Mwandishi member to appear here is Dr. Patrick Gleeson, who not only supplies the Moog and ARP synths he used on Crossings and Sextant, but a Oberheim digital sequencer which must have been straight off the assembly line.

I listened to the vinyl version of this album which has three tracks; the CD version has the last two songs as one track. To me, it seems like the middle song "Images" should be seperate from the last song. The title track features then Return To Forever guitarist Bill Connors, which is a great addition since there was no guitar on the Mwandishi albums. "Prologue / Love, Love" is similar to "Hornets" on Sextant. It starts with some orchestral jazz. The majority of this track is built around the funky odd-metered bassline. The drumming is great, repetative in a Can fashion. Basically a bunch of solos on modified wind instruments over a groove...but what an awesome groove it is.

Spacey effects on synths and whatnot come and go. Almost halfway you start hearing Mellotron strings which disappear and reappear throughout the remainder of the piece. Percussion becomes more noticeable over halfway. Towards the end the bass starts leaving more pauses and some fuzz gets applied to it. The music slowly dies out and ends. Compared to the last track, "Images" is more trad jazzy. Starts off with some free-form avant- jazz. Later more orchestral jazz. Then gets more spacey. Slowly the piece gets more dissonant. After 6 minutes the bass lays down a groove for the wind players to do avant solos over. The drums, meanwhile, are a little more varied. Lots of cacophony at the end.

"Eternal Words / Epilogue" ends the album on a very jazzy note. Certainly the least avant or rock sounding track. This begins with something wah-wahed and very jazzy piano and hi-hat. The beginning almost reminds me of pre-MDK Magma. Ends with more orchestral jazz. The first song is the best and the closest to the "kosmigroove" style. Unfortunately, Julian never made any more albums like this. I assume he is only on this site because of this album. But it's a great album. No Sextant, but close. 4 stars.

 Polarization by PRIESTER, JULIAN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.14 | 3 ratings

Julian Priester Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Easy Money
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars When I stumbled on Polarization in a record shop I was hoping I had found a continuation of Priester's psychedelic electronic fusion sound-scapes on Love Love, unfortunately Polarization isn't all that, gone are most of the electronics and echo machines, in their place we get a sound that is closer to classic late 70s ECM jazz., in other words, dry, intellectual and sometimes kind of boring. In smaller doses I think this album has very good moments, but taken as a whole it can drag sometimes.

The album opens nicely with the song Polarization, that features a double tracked spacey Preister trombone duet. This is very nice concert hall ambience and leads into Rhythm Magnet that has the band riding an abstract syncopated groove similar to Herbie Hancock, but where is the drummer? The mix is terrible, the kick and snare are in the other room and only the cymbals cut through, too bad. Side one closes with Wind Dolphin which opens with neo-classical horn/sax arrangements that recall Herbie again. This opening is followed by one of those avant-jazz free-for-alls that we have all heard before, eventually the quieter opening theme returns.

Side two opens with Coincidence by guitarist Ray Obiedo. It's a nice Spanish flavored instrumental featuring acoustic guitar and trombone that sits somewhere between mid- 20th century neo-classical and sophisticated lounge music. Scorpio Blue features a lengthy trombone pro-loge whose abstract rambling nature and ECM reverb end up sounding like modern music week at the local college recital, empty room reverb ambience and everything. When the rest of the band kicks in the song eases into more Debussy/lounge jazz. The album closes with Anatomy of a Longing that once again tries to bring on the Herbie avant-space funk, but once again the drums are lost except this one crash cymbal. Despite the bad mix this one has some nice moments when spaced out quiet orchestrations fill in when the rhythm section drops out. Ray Obiedo also turns in a blazing hard fusion guitar solo, his only one like it on the album.

I think fans of Julian Preister could find a lot to like here, but this album could have been a lot better if someone had remembered where the fader for the snare was.

 Love, Love by PRIESTER, JULIAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.03 | 18 ratings

Love, Love
Julian Priester Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. Julian Priester played trombone with Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters while still a teenager. He's also played with John Coltrane and Duke Ellington and other greats. His stint with Herbie Hancock (part of the Mwandishi lineup) is really the closest connection to this particular album. He recorded "Love, Love" in 1973 not long after he left Herbie's band. Pat Gleeson well known for his work with Herbie plays synths on this one as well as helping Julian to mix and produce it. Julian certainly does more than play the trombone here, he plays a variety of synths and horns, as well as percussion, and of course he composed these two side long suites. Oh, I forgot to mention that guitar ace Bill Connors plays on one track. Lots of other guests as well.

"Prologue / Love, Love" opens with what sounds like sliegh bells as piano comes in with other sounds. Not melodic here at all. Bass, drums and piano take over before 2 minutes and really they form the base of what we'll hear the rest of the way. A repetitive rhythm that sounds really good. We get synths, horns and other instruments coming and going throughout. Connors arrives after 9 minutes. There's even string-synths before 19 minutes. Excellent tune that Hancock fans would enjoy i'm sure.

"Images / Eternal Worlds / Epilogue" like the first track has no real melody to begin with. This time it's synths, drums and other sounds dominating until before 2 minutes. A change 2 1/2 minutes in as horns become prominant. Some dissonance after 6 minutes. A change after 8 minutes as piano and cymbals lead. Horns come in too. Piano leads before 11 minutes.The horns are crying out before 13 minutes. Piano ends it.

The first track is sort of repetitive and catchy while the second is more difficult and more of a challenge. A cool album and I like the cover too.

 Love, Love by PRIESTER, JULIAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.03 | 18 ratings

Love, Love
Julian Priester Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Easy Money
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars Fans of Herbie Hancock Sextet's cult favorite, 'Crossings', will probably find a lot to like in Sextet trombonist Julian Priester's 'Love Love'. All the familiar ingredients are here, futuristic analog synths, sinewy washes of string Melotron, heavily reverbed avant jazz solos, ecloplexed everything and African influenced poly-rhythms. To Priester's favor he has one thing that Herbie didn't have, the searing guitar work of Bill Connor. Unfortunately, what Julian is lacking in comparism to Hancock's classic though is the amazing psychedelic production of David Rubison, as well as Herbie's slightly better developed compositions. This is not to say Priester can't compose and arrange with the best of them, but we are comparing him to one of the top jazz composers of the second half of the 20th century.

Side one starts with beautiful subtle orchestrations with horns blending with Pat Gleeson's electronics, then the band breaks into a steady odd-metered groove while the horns, synths, guitars and Melotrons all have their chance to snake by and have their say. All this is nice and groovy in an early 70s psychedelic way, and it does have a very nice retro sound to it, but after awhile it does go on a bit long. Also, typical on this album is less than top- notch mixing from Gleeson and Priester, who are not pro mixers and it shows. The problem manifests itself on this side with a loud persistent hi-hat that could have been placed a bit lower in volume.

Side two is a little more adventurous and energetic as the band opens by alternating avant rushes of drum driven heavily echoed solos, with quiet mysterious orchestrated electronics/acoustic horns passages. The music and playing is top notch, but once again Gleeson and Priester undermine themselves by putting the synthesizers to high in the mix, and giving the drums a very muddy sound that makes most of the set disappear except the cymbals. Halfway through the second side (song titles seem to mean nothing on this album) the band brings it all together with this charging rhythm that's part Afro-Cuban and part galloping psychedelic space rock. Everone piles on with intertwining solos and for once the production is dead-on as Gleeson's synth colors blend perfectly with the horn players relentless solos.

If this album had been mixed and produced by professionals it would have been a 'masterpiece', all the same, it is still very good and is highly recommended for fans of the Herbie Hancock Sextet.

Thanks to easy money for the artist addition.

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