Polarization (Remastered) Julian Priester and Marine Intrusion
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- 2Rhythm Magnet08:31
- 3Wind Dolphin08:50
- 5Scorpio Blue09:36
- 6Anatomy of Longing08:24
Info for Polarization (Remastered)
Although trombonist Julian Priester had been playing for years on some of the hippest jazz sides ever recording, this stint of late 70s ECM recordings were some of his rare few as a leader, apart from some very early sides for the Jazzland/Riverside label. The groove here is stretched out, slightly electric, and slightly modal. There's a bit of Miles in the mix, especially on the heavier track – but you'll also hear plenty of Priester's deeply moody playing, developed strongly since his earlier days with Sun Ra and Max Roach.
The trombone is the viola of the brass world. It is arid, languid, and also incredibly beautiful in its range and melodic honesty. And on Polarization, Julian Priester’s ECM follow-up to his 1973 Love, Love session, we get more of that gorgeous depth than we could ever ask for.
The first three tracks form a unified whole. “Polarization” (Priester) begins with two overdubbed trombones improvising in a lofty space. We get some wonderful staccato technique in the left channel, and a wealth of implied energy all around. As the right-hand trombone fades, we hear the slightest indication of drums at the cut’s tail end, of which “Rhythm Magnet” (Priester) fleshes out every audible detail. Synthesized strings lend expanse while bassist Heshima Mark Williams lays down a gorgeous, almost Bill Laswell-like mysticism, albeit with an added twang and sharper features. Ray Obiedo weaves a slack guitar into the mix, and as the horns settle in to their respective stations, the piano lets out a final exaltation. “Wind Dolphin” (Bruce Horiuchi) begins with a cluster of drums. From this, we get a flowing run from brass and flanged guitar. The band breaks into a powerful free-for-all, marked by a “laughing” trombone and piano. “Coincidence” (Obiedo) is a piece for trombone, acoustic guitar, and piano, as beautiful as it is short. “Scorpio Blue” (Curtis Clark) arises from a solo trombone as drums lift the piano skyward into rolling flights of fantasy. The final track, “Anatomy Of Longing” (Curtis Clark), aside from having one of the best titles I’ve encountered in a long time, brings on the funk with electric guitar ornamenting the already fine calligraphy of the brass. And just when you think the music is over, it drips into a simmering sax solo over a pellucid piano and cymbals before the bass line returns with its undeniable insistence. The sax reels while the electric guitar squeals in joy over the thematic reinstatement before hurtling itself forward into an enthralling solo of its own. A smooth nightcap to a phenomenal outing.
While not as consistent in texture as Priester’s earlier effort, Polarization delivers in its many moods and emotional travels. The musicians don’t so much feed off as feed into one another, nourishing a delicate conversation in which agreement is the norm. Their harmonies are tender, the synergy relaxed and intuitive, acute yet soft around the edges. The recording is superb, the resonance at once immediate and expansive.
Julian Priester, trombone, string ensemble
Ron Stallings, tenor and soprano saxophones
Ray Obiedo, electric and acoustic guitars
Curtis Clark, piano
Heshima Mark Williams, electric bass
Augusta Lee Collins, drums
Recorded January 1977 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg, Germany
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Born in Chicago on June 29 1935, legendary trombonist 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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