Amazon.com Widgets

Anthony Branker & Ascent: Blessings (2009)

By Published: | 6,857 views
Anthony Branker & Ascent: Blessings How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Composer/arranger Anthony Branker and his ensemble Ascent follow up on the critically acclaimed release Spirit Songs (Sons of Sound, 2006) with Blessings, a spirited collection of progressive jazz. The music was composed during a residency Branker participated in at the Estonian Academy of Music where he represented the United States as a Fulbright Scholar. The recording features a first-rate cast of east coast heavy-hitters.

The disc's themes are strong, matter-of-fact musical statements. The lyrical simplicity of tunes such as "Ascent," "Crystal Angel," and "Wisdom" is livened by the front line of alto saxophonist Steve Wilson, tenor and soprano saxophonist Ralph Bowen, and trombonist Clifford Adams Jr.. Vibraphonist Bryan Carrott plays a dual role of percussive accompanist and horn-like soloist. The individual soloing, especially Bowen's, is intense throughout.

With so many fiery soloists to contend with, pianist Jonny King maintains a mostly supportive role, however, when given the opportunity to shine, as on the title track, his lines come across as flowing and swift. The somber, drawn-out piano pattern on "Sacred Song" is performed with heightened sensitivity.

Branker's music relies on a strong rhythmic foundation, with Afro-Cuban inspired grooves and solo sections over energetic vamps. Throughout the session, the pulse is aptly supplied by drummer Wilby Fletcher and bassist Belden Bullock. Conguero Renato Thoms enhances the montuno groove on "Crystal Angel" and "Arise."

With a unique combination of depth and accessibility, Branker is able to put forth a jazz perspective steeped in soulful optimism.

Track Listing: Ascent; The Holy Innocent; Crystal Angel; Sacred Song; Blessings; Arise; Wisdom; Never Alone; Praise.

Personnel: Anthony Branker: composer, arranger; Steve Wilson: alto saxophone; Ralph Bowen: tenor/soprano saxophone; Clifford Adams Jr.: trombone; Bryan Carrot: vibraphone; Jonny King: piano; Belden Bullock: bass; Wilby Fletcher: drums; Renato Thoms: congas (3, 6).

Record Label: Origin Records

Style: Modern Jazz


comments powered by Disqus
Search
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Mark Elf

Mark Elf

About | Enter

Stefano Bollani

Stefano Bollani

About | Enter

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

About | Enter

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Bandzoogle: GET STARTED TODAY - FREE TRIAL

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

Article Search