Julian Priester (tb), Jimmy Heath, Walter Benton (ts), Charles Davis (bs), Tommy Flanagan, McCoy Tyner (p), Sam Jones (b), Elvin Jones, Art Taylor (d)
Reference: FSRCD 643
Bar code: 8427328606431
The 1960 albums Keep Swingin and Spiritsville marked the leader debut of trombonist Julian Priester on record. Blessed with a fluent technique, a stirringly deep-down sound and a light, sure tone, he was a commanding soloist with unfailing swing and ideas.
But he also stood out as a jazz composer with the intriguing ability to always bring fresh ideas to his compositions and an earthy command of the blues. His was a truly unique jazz voice. The main solos of these fine sessions are his, but tenorists Jimmy Heath and Walter Benton, and baritone Charles Davis are also top-table talents in excellent form.
Both rhythm sections back them with drive and vivacity, with special emphasis on the stellar pianists, particularly Tommy Flanagan, who really stamps his authority on the section. McCoy Tyners approach is fresh and alert, and he can be as compelling when he comps behind a soloist as when he plays solo himself. The results were two warm, unpretentious small group dates that still seem timeless and fresh.
"Trombonist Julian Priester sounds very much under the influence of J.J. Johnson during his debut as a leader, a Riverside date. The repertoire is comprised of four Priester originals, one apiece by Jimmy Heath (whose tenor makes the group a quintet on five of the eight songs) and baritonist Charles Davis, and two standards. Priester is heard in his early prime on a warm version of "Once in a While" and plays solid hard bop with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Sam Jones, drummer Elvin Jones, and sometimes Heath on this swinging, modern, mainstream session."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide