With a unique combination of depth and accessibility, Branker is able to put forth a jazz perspective steeped in soulful optimism.
Inspired by the desire to infuse his compositions with the spirit and sensibility of dance, Anthony Branker here gathers an A-list of modern jazz masters and applies his own brand of fire and infectious rhythm to a set of ten new compositions, several featuring vocalist Kadri Voorand. With the frontline of saxophonists Tia Fuller and Ralph Bowen, Clifford Adams Jr. on trombone, along with the rhythm section of Jonny King, Kenny Davis and Adam Cruz, Branker creates a powerful and energizing recording, further strengthening the claim made by All About Jazz that "Branker is crafting some of today's finest compositions"
1 The Renewal 5:46
2 Mysterious Ways 7:14
3 Dance Music 7:06
4 A Smile Awaits 6:13
5 Asking Answers 5:23
6 The House of the Brotherhood of the Black Heads 7:41
7 The Holy Innocent 6:03
8 A Beautiful Life 5:30
9 Truth 6:44
10 Depende 6:38
Kadri Voorand - vocals
Tia Fuller - alto saxophone
Ralph Bowen - tenor & soprano saxophones
Clifford Adams, Jr. - trombone
Jonny King - piano
Kenny Davis - bass
Adam Cruz - drums
Freddie Bryant - guitar (9)
Anthony Branker - composer/musical director
Produced by Anthony Branker
Recorded March 10-11, 2010 by Mike Marciano at Systems Two Recording Studios, Brooklyn, New York
Mixed by Mike Marciano & Anthony Branker
Mastered by Mike Marciano
All at Systems Two Recording Studios, Brooklyn, New York
Cover Photography by Tatiana Gambetta
Cover Design by John Bishop
All Music Guide (Ken Dryden)
Anthony Branker directs his sextet Ascent in this stunning collection of originals. "The Renewal" is an insistent post-bop vehicle with fiery solos by alto saxophonist Tia Fuller and trombonist Clifford Adams, Jr. and tenor saxophonist Ralph Bowen, followed by Jonny King's driving McCoy Tyner-influenced piano. The hip "Dance Music" is a trio showca ...
Audiophile Audition (Doug Simpson)
Anthony Branker's latest Origin Records release, Dance Music, is well named. The jazz instructor, composer and arranger was inspired to infuse his newest crop of compositions with the spirit and flexibility of dance, resulting in a dynamic and energized recording which flows with an upbeat bop-oriented bustle and a bluesy grace. Branker's jazz c ...
All About Jazz (Edward Blanco)
Dr. Anthony Branker holds an endowed jazz chair, and is currently director of the Program in Jazz Studies at Princeton University. A composer and musical director, Branker established the jazz collective, Anthony Branker & Ascent in 2004, featuring an A-list of players?among them, saxophonists Tia Fuller and Ralph Bowen fronting a light ensemble, w ...
All About Jazz (Karl Ackerman)
Anthony Branker continues to experiment with the standards of large group musical tradition on Dance Music. Leading a revised version of his Ascent ensemble, the composer/musical director takes a different approach than the Latin influences on Blessings (Origin Records, 2009). Only on the last of ten tracks, "Depende," is there a composition in tha ...
Cadence (David Kane)
Composer/trumpeter/arranger Branker doesn't actually appear on [Dance Music] but his compositions do and they provide effective showcases for the talents of his band. In this instance, his talent for choosing top quality sidemen equals or surpasses his talent for composition. That's not to knock his writing which is solid and well-crafted in a Mode ...
Jazz Times (Bill Milkowski)
Composer Anthony Branker presides over a talented crew of alto saxophonist Tia Fuller, tenor saxophonist Ralph Bowen, trombonist Clifford Adams Jr., pianist Jonny King, bassist Kenny Davis, guitarist Freddie Bryant and drummer Adam Cruz. On the McCoy Tyner-ish opener, "The Renewal," Fuller, Adams and King step out from the fray as potent soloists. ...
Downbeat Magazine (Jennifer Odell)
★★★ ½ On his third Ascent project, Princeton University educator Anthony Branker challenges preconceptions that a composer's erudition might impinge upon accessibility. From the humming bird-paced piano and horn vamp that opens the rousing "The House Of Brotherhood Of The Black Heads" to Tia Fuller's blistering solo on "The Renew ...