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Monday, June 8, 2009

Track of the Day: Julian Priester

Posted By on Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 11:33 AM

One secret ingredient in the elephantine new Sunn O))) record, Monoliths & Dimensions, is Julian Priester. The murky, dirgey album's coda comes from the trombonist, who adds free jazz to "Alice" after a record's worth of metal, drone, and other bone-compressing free for alls. (He also plays a conch shell on opener "Aghartha.")

Priester's been involved in the jazz scene since the '50s. He's played with Sun Ra, Max Roach, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, and Freddie Hubbard, among others, veering between hard bop, post bop, fusion, Latin and avant-garde jazz. In 1973, Priester moved to San Francisco, and a year later he released one of my favorite jazz records, Love, Love. (He's since moved up to Seattle). That improvisational album, which has been compared to Miles Davis' classic Bitches Brew, is a serious sonic adventure, with the trombonist leading a magical ride through stormy electronic atmospheres.

The new Sunn O))) is a good excuse to share some older Priester material, especially since, in the heavy hands of Portland's experi-metal masters, the trombonist is of course sandwiched between layers of monstrous noise. I highly recommend taking a moment to feel the Love, which you can sample on the Never Enough Rhodes blog here.

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Ian S. Port


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