303

Anthony Branker & Ascent: Dance Music

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Anthony Branker & Ascent: Dance Music 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, with vocalist Kadri Voorand. Dance Music is the group's third album of all-original music, inspired by Branker's desire to infuse his compositions with an element of dance. Despite this intent, the only true dance numbers on the disc are the Latin jazz finale, "Depende," the funk-driven title track, and a couple of the soft vocal ballads, appropriate for a slow dance; the majority of the selections incorporate a more modern jazz approach, with very impressive results.

Four of the ten Branker originals are vocals pieces, with lyrics penned by Voorand, whose seductive voice is first heard on "Mysterious Ways," accompanied by Bowen on soprano. Pianist Jonny King and saxophonist Bowen combine for an inspiring performance on "A Smile Awaits" with bassist Kenny Davis throwing in a few firm bass lines towards the end. Fuller tees off on "The House of the Brotherhood of the Black Heads," leaving no question about whom this number belongs, though Bowen also contributes a few sharp solos.

Guitarist Freddie Bryant appears on "Truth," lending a few delicate chords to this rather relaxing, mid-tempo piece, in stark contrast to the session's closing spicy statement, the Latin "Depende," delivered by trombonist Clifford Adams, Jr. Branker may not perform, but shines through the quality of his compositions, as well as his direction of the group. While the type and level of dance and swing music contained on this recording is challengeable, there's no denying the obvious: Dance Music is unquestionably a strong outing of engaging modern jazz.

Track Listing: The Renewal; Mysterious Ways; Dance Music; A Smile Awaits; Asking Answers; The House of the Brotherhood of the Black Heads; The Holy Innocent; A Beautiful Life; Truth; Depende.

Personnel: Anthony Branker: musical director; Kadri Voorand: vocals (2, 5, 7, 8); Tia Fuller: alto saxophone; Ralph Bowen: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Clifford Adams, Jr.: trombone; Jonny King: piano; Kenny Davis: bass; Adam Cruz: drums; Freddie Bryant: guitar (9);

Title: Dance Music | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Origin Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Magia" CD/LP/Track Review Magia
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "From the Heart" CD/LP/Track Review From the Heart
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "Nessuno" CD/LP/Track Review Nessuno
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "LifeCycle" CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.