Last night, fans of Dr. Julian Priester packed the Royal Room to help the legendary 82-year-old jazz trombonist/composer obtain funds to defray his rising healthcare bills. He and his band Cue (bassist Geoff Harper, pianist Dawn Clement, and drummer Byron Vannoy) played a beautiful set that included a number Priester wrote for Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi band that was never recorded. Bandalabra Trio—D'Vonne Lewis, Evan Flory-Barnes, and Skerik—opened the night with some deft, stirring improv pieces and then brought things to a climax with a cover of Pharoah Sanders's "Colors," augmented by the great Om Johari assuming the Leon Thomas role on vocals.
As well as being an aesthetic success, the concert—dubbed Helping Hand and organized by local photographer Sarah Barrick—was a financial boon to Dr. Priester, bringing in over $3,800. If you missed the show, you can still donate to the cause through Priester's YouCaring page, which has raised more than $9,000 thus far.
Before Priester's band performed, Barrick gave a moving speech about the occasion. "To quote the queen of vulnerability, Brené Brown, who inspires me to lead a more authentic life: 'Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen,' and 'Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.' Thank you, Dr. Julian Priester, for walking the path of vulnerability and allowing us all to lend a helping a hand." Barrick also notes that multi-track audio and video were recorded last night and she's seeking "someone to donate their time/skills to mix/master and archive last night's performance."
Finally, if you're a fan of Priester's, you should check out a new in-depth interview he did with writer Paul Rauch for All About Jazz. It covers some of the same ground my long 2015 Slog post on Priester did, but there are a lot of new revelations, too.
Now please enjoy one of Priester's funkiest compositions, written for brilliant fusion trumpeter Eddie Henderson's 1976 album, Heritage.