Anthony Branker and Word Play
“...a serious composer who does a lot more than write tunes...his music is steeped in the deeper sources of jazz.”
-All About Jazz
While addressing such themes as intolerance, hate and prejudice, composer Anthony Branker's "Uppity" strives to remind us of the power and resiliency of the human spirit as we continue the struggle for a truly tolerant and color-blind society. With saxophonist Ralph Bowen, trombonist Andy Hunter, trumpeter Eli Asher, pianist Jim Ridl, bassist Kenny Davis, drummer Donald Edwards, and vocalist Charmaine Lee, Branker has created a thoroughly musical work that will certainly be considered one of his more important projects to date.
1 Let's Conversate! 6:05
2 Dance Like No One is Watching 6:38
3 Three Gifts (from a Nigerian Mother to God) 8:24
4 Across the Divide 6:50
5 Uppity 7:10
6 Ballad for Trayvon Martin 6:44
Produced by Anthony Branker
Recorded by Mike Marciano at
Systems Two Recording, Brooklyn, NY
Recorded on June 8, 2012
Mixed by Mike Marciano
& Anthony Branker
Mastered by Mike Marciano
Cover photography by Tana Lopez
Additional photos by Gulnara Khamatova
Cover design & layout by John Bishop
Ralph Bowen - tenor saxophone
Andy Hunter - trombone & keyboards
Eli Asher - trumpet & flugelhorn
Jim Ridl - piano & fender rhodes
Kenny Davis - acoustic & electric bass
Donald Edwards - drums
Charmaine Lee - vocals (3)
Anthony Branker - composer & musical director
All About Jazz
On Uppity, Dr. Anthony Branker, Director of Jazz Studies at Princeton University, has created a life-affirming, sometimes funky, and straight-through beautiful set of sounds—an ode to the resiliency and basic goodness of the human spirit.
Branker began his jazz journey as a trumpeter, but complications from a brain aneurysm in 1999 brought his t ...
Branker has quietly been assembling a seriously impressive set of recorded music since focusing on composing and arranging. His talent lies in his ability to take complex music and offer it as simple expressions. What this means is that you’ll get very engaging jazz that is very easy to connect to and just enjoy listening for the sake of listening. ...
Ken Franckling\'s Jazz Notes
A medical condition that led to a seizure and two brain aneurysms in 1999 forced jazzman Anthony Branker to give up the trumpet, but not his talents as a conceptualist and composer. (He is also an educator – the founder and director of the jazz studies program at Princeton.) His newest release, featuring his all-star sextet Word Play, is both beau ...
(George W. Harris)
Composer & arranger Anthony Branker has put together an intriguing six piece suite with a sextet and vocalist that can be approached both musically and socially. Of the latter, the theme of the piece is concerning latent and overt racism in America a la the Trayvon Martin case and the latest presidential election campaign. Musically, it’s hard to b ...
LongPlay | RadioJAZZ.FM 35, Poland
Composer, conductor and director of the University Jazz [Program] in Princeton, Anthony Branker has created an excellent musical project by engaging with the leaders of American jazz; musicians: saxophonist Ralph Bowen, trombonist Andy Hunter, Eli Asher trumpeter, pianist Jim Ridl and drummer Donald Edwards.
The album opens with the funky rhythm ...
Jazz Inside Magazine
With a large percentage of jazz musicians being African-American, racial justice has long been a point of contention and frustration for them (us). This frustration has manifested itself in different ways. Many in the 50’s and 60’s aligned themselves with religious groups such as the Nation of Islam, which preached black self reliance and encourage ...
(Sean J. O'Connell)
***1/2 (3.5 stars)
Anger and injustice are strong themes on composer and conductor Anthony Branker's new album. Knowing the backstory of Branker's compositions, told in his lengthy liner notes, is essential to a complete understanding of the project, though the funky performances on the primarily instrumental recording are not nearly as frustrated ...