JULIAN PRIESTER & SAM RIVERS: Hints On Light and Shadow

Catalog# 7710172

UPC# 782737101723

Julian Priester-trombone, Sam Rivers-tenor & soprano sax/flute/piano, Tucker Martine-electronics

Listen on your favorite streaming service.


            “an example of Rivers’ free-blowing brilliance…Priester is a fine nimble player . . .they’re both such able improvisers that

             moments of revelation are inevitable.”   —  Jazziz

On this Postcards Records CD, Julian Priester / Sam Rivers: Hints on Light and Shadow, the two maestros mesh their free-spirited instincts with electronics that enlarge the Jazz palette and electrify the proceedings: a brass and reed fantasy distilled to its pure, swinging, melodic essence. This unprecedented duet session blends the music of two Jazz masters (who have played with such wide ranging artists as T-Bone Walker, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Herbie Hancock, and on through the distant musical galaxies of Sun Ra) with the fresh, post-modern, cutting edge electronics of Tucker Martine (the Grammy Nominated producer for Bill Frisell, The Decemberists, and Sufjan Stevens). Together, Priester & Rivers achieve the highest level of communication through improvisational feel and thought, in a manner rarely captured and released on recordings.

            “a welcomed addition to both artists’ discographies.”     – JazzTimes

The combination of Sam Rivers multi-instrumental mind (he plays Tenor Saxophone,  Soprano Saxophone, Flute, and Piano on this album) and the virtuosic trombone depth and delicacy achieved by Julian Priester, culminates in an impressive and thought-provoking Free Jazz album from the Postcards label entitled Julian Priester / Sam Rivers: Hints on Light and Shadow.

            “Postcards continues to explore the possibilities of improvisation in an electro-acoustic setting . . .

             I highly recommend it for headphone listening.”    —– Cadence Magazine

Song Selection:

1. Heads of the People
2. Desire
3. Zone
4. The New System
5. Mister Mayor and Mister Miser
6. Autumnal Influences: The Book of Beauty
7. Public Servant
8. The Circumlocution Office
9. Chiaroscuro

Julian Priester – trombone
Sam Rivers – tenor & soprano saxophones, flute, piano
Tucker Martine – electronics


Priester traces his musical beginnings to his high school band instructor, Walter Henri Dyett of Chicago’s DuSable High. “He gave us the discipline we needed,” stated Priester.. Following graduation, he honed his craft through study groups with other Chicago musicians (Charles Davis among them), through listening, and, most influentially, through participation in jam sessions, a tradition that was then alive and well in Chicago clubs. “These were very inspirational,” he says. “Giants of jazz like Clifford Brown and Max Roach would come to town and visit the clubs where local artists were playing, so we had the opportunity to play with them — I was on the bandstand with Sonny Stitt when I was only 17 years old — and this really played a large role in developing my improvisational skills.”

This kind of experience prepared Priester to join Sun Ra‘s orchestra at an early age, before leaving Chicago in 1956 to tour with Lionel Hampton. From then on, Priester has played with a virtual who’s who of jazz geniuses, including significant associations with Max Roach, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, Sun Ra (again, in the late ’80s), Jerry Granelli, and Reggie Workman. He has also performed and/or recorded with countless others, including Dinah Washington, Johnny Griffin, Ray Charles, Mel Lewis Orchestra, McCoy Tyner, Donald Byrd, Stanley Turrentine, the Duke Ellington Orchestra. For Postcards Records, he has performed not only on the Reggie Workman albums, but also on Ralph Simon’s Music for the Millennium.

Since 1979, Priester has been on the music faculty of Cornish College for the Arts in Seattle, where he teaches jazz composition, improvisation, skills (such as sight-reading), performance, and history. He continues to actively play, record, and compose.


Sam Rivers describes himself as having been “born on tour” in Oklahoma, since both his parents were musicians. After growing up in Chicago, he moved to Boston for formal study at the Boston Conservatory of Music, where he studied composition with Alan Hovaness, and at Boston University.

As with Priester, the list of musicians with whom Rivers has played includes almost everybody of significance in jazz. Some of the longer associations included those with T-Bone Walker, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Cecil Taylor, Tony Williams, and Herbie Hancock. His numerous recordings as a sideman include Miles in Tokyo (Columbia) with Miles Davis and Spring (Blue Note) with Tony Williams, as well as the Postcards recordings with Reggie Workman and with Bruce Ditmas (What If- 1995).

Rivers has been playing with his own groups since the ’40s — mostly quartets and big bands. These groups included such musicians as Dave Holland, Chico Freeman, Steve Coleman, Kevin and Robin Eubanks, and Cecil McBee.

From the late ’60s through the late ’70s, Rivers ran Studio RivBea in New York. Originally intended for teaching and rehearsals, Studio RivBea evolved into a vibrant performance space for avant-garde music when musicians such as Oliver Lake and the Art Ensemble began giving concerts there because there were few other places in New York that welcomed their performances. According to Rivers, the studio filled such an obvious vacuum that the New York State Council on the Arts, on its own initiative, provided funding to support its activities.