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Ascent/Anthony Branker: Dance Music

Track List

>Renewal, The
>Mysterious Ways
>Dance Music
>Smile Awaits, A
>Asking Answers
>House of the Brotherhood of the Black Heads, The
>Holy Innocent, The
>Beautiful Life, A

Album Reviews:

Down Beat (p.62) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Branker inspires buoyant, animated performances from his sextet."

JazzTimes (p.91) - "Guitarist Bryant is featured along with Bowen on 'Truth,' while vocalist-lyricist 'Kadri Voorand lends a classy touch to the expressive ballad 'Mysterious Ways'..."

Album Notes

Personnel: Kadri Voorand (vocals); Ralph Bowen (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Tia Fuller (alto saxophone); Clifford Adams (trombone); Jonny King (piano); Adam Cruz (drums).

Audio Mixers: Mike Marciano; Anthony Branker.

Recording information: Systems Two Recording Studios, Brooklyn, NY (03/10/2010/03/11/2010).

Arranger: Anthony Branker.

Anthony Branker directs his sextet Ascent in this stunning collection of originals. "The Renewal" is an insistent post-bop vehicle with fiery solos by alto saxophonist Tia Fuller and trombonist Clifford Adams, Jr. and tenor saxophonist Ralph Bowen, followed by Jonny King's driving McCoy Tyner-influenced piano. The hip "Dance Music" is a trio showcase for Bowen, bassist Kenny Davis, and drummer Adam Cruz. The hard-charging post-bop vehicle "The House of the Brotherhood of the Black Heads" contrasts with the elegance of the ballad "Truth," which adds guitarist Freddie Bryant as a complement to Bowen's powerful tenor. Vocalist Kadri Voorand appears on four tracks, also contributing the lyrics. She's a modern wordsmith who isn't interested in simplistic Tin Pan Alley rhyming, but more of a free-form poet, yet her words beautifully fit Branker's compositions. She energizes "Asking Answers" with her spirited alto voice and adds a touch of playful scat to open the shimmering ballad "The Holy Innocent." Recommended. ~ Ken Dryden


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