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Anthony Branker

Composer Anthony Branker has recorded for Origin Records and Sons of Sound Records and has eight releases in his fast growing and musically rich discography. They include: Beauty Within (Origin, 2016), The Forward (Towards Equality) Suite (Origin, 2014), Uppity (Origin, 2013), Together (Origin, 2012), Dialogic (Origin, 2011), Dance Music (Origin, 2010), Blessings (Origin, 2009), and Spirit Songs (Sons of Sound, 2006). He leads three collectives that include Anthony Branker & Imagine, Anthony Branker & Ascent and Anthony Branker & Word Play, which have featured Ralph Bowen, Fabian Almazan, Linda Oh, Rudy Royston, Pete McCann, David Binney, Conrad Herwig, Jim Ridl, Kenny Davis, Donald Edwards, Renato Thoms, Alison Crockett, Mark Gross, Tia Fuller, Steve Wilson, Antonio Hart, Andy Hunter, Clifford Adams, Eli Asher, Jonny King, Bryan Carrott, John Benitez, Belden Bullock, Adam Cruz, Ralph Peterson Jr., Wilby Fletcher, Kadri Voorand, and Freddie Bryant.

Recently Branker was named in Down Beat magazine's 63rd & 62nd Annual Critics Poll as a "Rising Star Composer." He has received composition prizes, commissions, served as composer-in- residence, and has had his music featured in performance in Poland, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Australia, France, Germany, China, Russia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Japan; as well as in performance at such venues as the Iridium Jazz Club, Sweet Basil Jazz Club, Smalls Jazz Club, The Five Spot, New York’s Symphony Space, the Fez under the Time Café, Trumpets Jazz Club, Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (Australia), Sydney Conservatorium of Music (Australia), and the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture. In addition, his music has appeared on National Public Radio, was spotlighted at the International Jazz Composers Symposium at the University of South Florida, and has been performed by the Shanghai Jazz Orchestra in Shanghai, China.

Branker's works have been performed and/or recorded by the Princeton University Orchestra, Orrin Evans, Steve Nelson, Talib Kibwe (TK Blue), Eddie Henderson, Victor Lewis, Steve Nelson, Stanley Jordan, Curtis Lundy, Steve Kroon, Michael Cochrane, Jann Parker, Marc Bernstein, Rick Margitza, and the Spirit of Life Ensemble featuring guest soloists Kenny Barron, Winard Harper, Joe Ford, Valery Ponomarev, Cecil Brooks III, Onaje Allen Gumbs, Alex Blake, and Sarah Jane Cion. During his residency at the Estonian Academy of Music, Branker composed "The Eesti Jazz Suite," a five-movement work inspired by the culture and people of Estonia. This work was premiered in November of 2006 at the academy of music as part of the concert tour of the Princeton University Jazz Composers Collective, which was sponsored by the Department of State of the United States, the U.S. Embassy in Estonia, and the Estonian Academy of Music. In 2008, Branker’s "Skirting the Issue" was performed by the free-thinking jazz quartet Amparo from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden and the Crossing Borders Improvisational Music Ensemble at Princeton University. In 2013, Branker conducted the Princeton University in performance of his composition "Ballad for Trayvon Martin for Orchestra and Jazz Quartet" with tenor saxophone soloist Ralph Bowen.

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"Honing a hybrid of freewheeling postbop and social commentary, abetted by judicious dollops of funk, fusion, spoken word, clave and polyrhythmic percussion, Branker incorporates these elements in broad, bold strokes, like a muralist. He has yet to make a bad record." —JazzTimes

“Anthony Branker is crafting some of today’s finest compositions…” —All About Jazz

"(Branker) pulls off the dandy feat of merging art and commerce making creative jazz that could leap to mass appeal...this is everything you could want in a swinging, mainstream date...simply hits it out of the park" —Midwest Record Review of "Together" CD

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Credentials/Background

Dr. Anthony D.J. Branker held an endowed chair in Jazz Studies, was Founding Director of the Program in Jazz Studies, Director of University Jazz Empembles, and served as Associate Director of the Program in Musical Performance at Princeton University, where he taught for 27 years. He directed an extensive list of ensembles and taught courses in jazz theory through improvisation & composition, jazz performance practice in historical and cultural context, jazz composition, the evolution of jazz styles, and the improvising ensemble. He has served as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in Tallinn, Estonia and has also been a member of the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music, Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts, Hunter College of the City University of New York, Ursinus College, and the New Jersey Summer Arts Institute. Dr. Branker was visiting composer at the Southern Danish Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Odense/Esbjerg, Denmark; Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg, Germany; the Estonian Academy of Music & Theatre; and for the Socrates/Erasmus Intensive Programme in cooperation with the European Union, the Association of Baltic Academies of Music, and the Estonian Academy of Music & Theatre.

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Beauty Within

Origin Records
2016

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The Forward (Towards...

Origin Records
2014

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Uppity

Origin Records
2013

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Dance Music

Origin Records
2011

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Blessings

Origin Records
2009

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Unity

From: Together
By Anthony Branker

Ancestral Tales

From: Dialogic
By Anthony Branker

The House of the Brotherhood of the Black Heads

From: Dance Music
By Anthony Branker

Ascent

From: Blessings
By Anthony Branker

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