Anthony Branker and Word Play

Uppity

origin 82635

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MUSIC REVIEW BY George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly

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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 beat Ralph Bowen?s tenor sax gliding over the rhythm section of Jim Ridl/key, Kenny Davis/b and Donald Edwards on the empassioned ?Ballad for Trayvon Martin,? and the agonizingly dramatic buildup with Charmaine Lee as she coalesces her voice with Andy Hunter/tb, Eli Asher/tp and Bowen on ?Three Gifts?. Some catchy funky themes keep the moods varied and uptempo on ?Let?s Convesate!? and ?Dance Like No One Is Watching,? making Branker a guy you want to keep an ear out for. Thematically, American racism is a touchy topic, and having personally lived as a minority member in various 2nd and 3rd World countries, I can not only attest that America is actually one of the LEAST racist countries in the world, but the problem is more a problem of sin than skin. Having said that, it?s impressive to have a composer put his heart on his sleeve and desire to start a hopefully truthful and honest dialogue through music and word.






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