Anthony Branker and Word Play

Uppity

origin 82635

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Ken Franckling, Ken Franckling's Jazz Notes

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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 beautiful and provocative. Favorites: ?Three Gifts (from a Nigerian Mother to God)? and the title track ?Uppity,? which was based on one of the composer?s brief anti-racist poems. ?Ballad for Trayvon Martin? is a strong feature for tenor saxophonist Ralph Bowen and pianist Jim Ridl. Other band members include bassist Kenny Davis, trumpeter Eli Asher, trombonist/keyboardist Andy Hunter and drummer Donald Edwards. This project underscores Branker?s prowess as a composer and musical commentator.






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