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The Seattle Public Library
Central Library, 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, Washington 98104
A free jazz talk led by Seattle jazz legends in conjunction with the 8th floor gallery exhibit «Rhythm in Colors.»
How did Seattle get to be such a legendary jazz town? Find out with jazz impresario Dr Julian Priester and famed drummer D’Vonne Lewis and celebrated songstress Johnaye Kendrick. The evening will begin with live music from Priester, Lewis, and Kendrick and then unfold into lively conversations about jazz from the 1950s to the present, with an opening by poet, writer and jazz historian Nashira Priester. It’ll be a night not-to-be missed and attendees are encouraged to tour the exhibit Rhythm in Colors in our 8th floor gallery before the talk. Doors open at 6:30pm.
More info: post.spl.org/2s0bGtu
Northwest African American Museum
Dr. Julian Priester
Dr. Julian Priester (born June 29, 1935 in Chicago) is an American jazz trombone player and composer. He attended Chicago's DuSable High School, where he studied under Walter Dyett. In his teens, he played with blues and R&B artists such as Muddy Waters, and Bo Diddley, and had the opportunity to jam with jazz players like saxophonist Sonny Stitt.
In the early 1950s, Priester was a member of Sun Ra's big band, recording several albums with the group before leaving Chicago in 1956 to tour with Lionel Hampton and he joined Dinah Washington in 1957. The following year he settled in New York and joined the group led by drummer Max Roach who heard him playing on the Philly Joe Jones album, «Blues for Dracula» (1958). While playing in Roach's group, Priester also recorded two albums as a leader, «Keep Swingin'» and «Spiritsville,» both of which were recorded and released by Riverside (the latter by their Jazzland subsidiary) in 1960.
Priester recorded two albums with trumpeter Booker Little in 1961,«Out Front» and «Booker Little and Friend» (also known as «Victory and Sorrow»), the first also features Roach, and Priester took part in the sessions for John Coltrane's Africa/Brass album, which was recorded in the same year. He left Roach's band during 1961, and between then and 1969 appeared as a sideman on albums led by Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Blue Mitchell, Art Blakey, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Johnny Griffin, and Sam Rivers. In 1969, he accepted an offer to play with Duke Ellington's big band, and he stayed with that ensemble for six months before leaving in 1970 to join pianist Herbie Hancock's fusion sextet.
After leaving the Hancock in sextet in 1973, Priester took up residence in San Francisco where he recorded two more albums as a leader: «Love, Love» in 1974 and 1977's «Polarization.» In 1979, he joined the faculty of Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, where he taught jazz composition, performance, and history until retiring in 2011.
In the 1980s, he became a member of the Dave Holland's quintet and also returned to Sun Ra's band for a few recordings. The 1990s saw the addition of Charlie Haden's «Liberation Music Orchestra» to his schedule. Priester was co-leader with drummer Jimmy Bennington on 'Portraits and Silhouettes' which received an Honorable Mention in All About Jazz New York's 'Best Recordings of 2007,' which culminated with the two musicians appearing at the 30th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival. Priester also performs on the album «Monoliths & Dimensions» by the drone metal band Sunn 0))), released in May 2009. His major contributions were to the final track on the album titled, «Alice.» It was a tribute to Alice Coltrane.
In addition to teaching and touring, Priester continues to record albums under his own name. He released «Hints on Light and Shadow» (with Sam Rivers and Tucker Martine) in 1997 and followed it in 2003 with «In Deep End Dance.»
Composer/band leader/poet/drummer D'Vonne Lewis is the grandson of the 'Godfather of rock and roll/soul, 1950's-1960's Northwest organ legend,' Dave Lewis. At 33 years old, D'Vonne is a first-call drummer to many bands and legendary musicians, nationally and worldwide.D'Vonne Lewis'
Lewis graduated from Seattle's Roosevelt high school in 2002 and was a member of the award-winning jazz band, directed by SRJO trombonist, Scott Brown. While in high school, D'Vonne received the Essentially Ellington Drum soloist award for the years 2000, 2001 and 2002. Lewis resides in Seattle, WA, yet extensively tours and performs various gigs in styles ranging from jazz, funk, hip-hop, rock, Brazilian and African. Lewis is impeccable when performing within the tradition of America’s classical music, jazz. He also stays busy teaching privately and is currently teacher-adjunct at Cornish College of the Arts. He gives clinics in schools and camps and has recorded with Macklemore; Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam; Hadley Caliman; Marc Seales; Larry Fuller; Sarah Gazarek and a host of other local and national artists. Lewis composes for his own band's: 'D'Vonne Lewis' Limited Edition' and the hard-hitting, cutting-edge, 2014/2015 Earshot Jazz group winners and 2014 'Genius' award-winning band, Industrial Revelation. In 2006, D'Vonne received the Earshot Golden Ear Award for 'Emerging Artist of the Year' and has also received the 2013 Earshot Golden Ear Award for 'Instrumentalist of the Year.'
Johnaye Kendrick was born and raised in San Diego, CA. She received a Bachelor of Music from Western Michigan University in 2005. During her time at Western Michigan, she received a DownBeat Student Music Award for 'Outstanding Jazz Vocalist' and was featured in an honors recital with pianist Fred Hersch. In the fall of 2007, Ms. Kendrick was accepted to the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
While attending the Thelonious Monk Institute, Johnaye worked with many outstanding jazz musicians, including Terence Blanchard, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Danilo Perez, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Brian Blade. She received an Artist's Diploma from the Thelonious Monk Institute and a Masters Degree in Jazz Studies from Loyola University in 2009. After graduating from the Monk Institute, Johnaye was immediately hired by trumpeter Nicholas Payton, who raves “Johnaye has the potential to be a vocalist of the highest order; the likes of which we have seen seldom since the grande dames of the golden era of jazz roamed the earth. She’s got IT!” In addition to her many travels with the Nicholas Payton SEXTET, Johnaye has also been a featured vocalist with the Ellis Marsalis Quartet and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. The Orchestra won a Grammy ® Award in 2009 for 'Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album' category for their release «Book 1» on which Ms. Kendrick is featured. Johnaye has performed at numerous festivals, concert halls and jazz clubs, including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Rio das Ostras Jazz Festival, Burghausen Jazz Festival, International Jazz Festival Bern, Playboy Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club, Jazz Gallery, Chicago Symphony Center, Snug Harbor and Birdland with Nicholas Payton, Ellis Marsalis, Sean Jones or John Ellis. She has also performed with her own band at the Earshot Jazz Festival, Lima Jazz Festival, Royal Room, Tula's, Festival Sundiata, NW African American Museum, Chihuly Gardens and other venues.
Johnaye Kendrick performs her own original compositions as well as fresh interpretations of beloved jazz and blues compositions. She focuses on graceful renditions of jazz standards and composes music and lyrics where she often accompanies herself on harmonium, violin, viola, and percussion. The legendary Jimmy Heath says that «Johnaye is not just a vocalist. She is a complete musician with a beautiful instrument and open ears.» A dedicated educator, Johnaye resides in Seattle, WA where she serves as an Associate Professor of Jazz Voice at Cornish College of the Arts. In 2013, she was nominated for an Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award as 'Northwest Vocalist of the Year.' In 2014, she recorded, produced and released her debut CD, «Here,» for the johnygirl label. Featuring 12 of Johnaye’s original compositions, «Here» finds her supported by pianist Dawn Clement, bassist Chris Symer, and drummers Byron Vannoy and D’Vonne Lewis.
Nashira Priester is a seasoned writer, poet and historian. Ishmael Reed has said of her work, “There is so much fake Jazz poetry nowadays it's hard to recognize the real when it comes along. Nashira Priester's poetry is real. It mixes and samples the ancient with the new. Some luxuriant. Some spitting fire.Think Sun Ra.Think Jayne Cortez.” Jessica Hagedorn has written Nashira is: «A wordsmith with grit and verve, [whose] poems are meant to be seen/ felt/ and heard.» Nashira has worked in journalism and radio and film production along with exhibit design. Her published titles include MYSTIC GLYPHS FROM ONYX LARYNX (out of print) and the soon-to be published > bleak nationalist house party. She’s been a “founder mother” of with Women in Film/Seattle, has worked with Freehold Theatre Lab. She speaks fluent French and is a deep scholar idioms of the black diaspora with a special focus on black musical traditions in America bridging gospel, blues, jazz, hiphop and beyond.