Jazz Journalists Association ‘Jazz Heroes’ are activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz who have had significant impact in their local communities. 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.
Seattle’s Julian Priester is one of 25 Jazz Heroes designated by the Jazz Journalists Association to celebrate those who have had a significant impact on their jazz communities. There will be a Jazz Hero award presentation for Julian Priester at Tula’s at 6 PM PST on Tuesday, April 30, International Jazz Day.
Trombonist Julian Priester, also known as Pepo Mtoto (“Spirit Child”), has from the very beginning of his musical career demonstrated Zen-like equanimity when presented with conflicts or opposites. Growing up in a South Side of Chicago neighborhood with the hard rocking blues of Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley in his head but high school band disciplinarian Captain Walter Dyett instructing him in something very different may have had something to do with it. Or maybe it is just his calm personality, his ability to listen and absorb, and the subtlety of his expressivity, characteristics evident in his own music of the past nearly 60 years, from his first jobs in Sun Ra’s Arkestra through his retirement last year from the faculty of Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.