Personnel: Mark Gross (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Ralph Bowen (tenor saxophone); Jonny King (Fender Rhodes piano); Kenny Davis (acoustic bass, electric bass); Donald Edwards (drums).
Audio Mixers: Mike Marciano; Anthony Branker.
Recording information: Systems Two Recording Studio, Brooklyn, NY (06/07/2012).
Anthony Branker's recordings with his group Ascent have followed a familiar format, utilizing a small group to interpret his originals. For this 2012 recording, he replaces piano with Fender Rhodes, played by Jonny King (a veteran of several earlier Branker CDs), tenor saxophonist Ralph Bowen and bassist Kenny Davis (both of whom have played on several Branker releases as well), alto and soprano saxophonist Mark Gross, and drummer Donald Edwards. The resulting sound is a bit lighter but no less varied, with potent solos all around and the tightness one would expect from a working group, though it isn't clear if the musicians have played gigs together. There is a great variety of music within this relatively short CD (just under 44 minutes), with the soulful "Song of We" standing out among the compositions. The veteran Bowen is the brightest star among the soloists, though Gross is definitely a young player worth watching in the future. ~ Ken Dryden