Anthony Branker reigns! This highly talented composer and founder of ANTHONY BRANKER & ASCENT, a jazz collective formed in 2004, has gathered some of the most gifted musicians in their respective fields and combined their talents to perform his own infectious compositions. He calls this particular collection 'Dance Music' - his hope being that he has been able to create a sense of the spirit and idiosyncrasy of dance to these works. The performers are Tia Fuller, alto saxophone, Ralph Bowen, tenor and soprano sax, Clifford Adams, Jr., trombone, Jonny King, piano, Kenny Davis, bass, Adam Cruz, drums, Freddie Bryant, guitar, and a real find - Kadri Voorand - as on vocals. There is a balance here that is not only due to the inherent communication among the musicians but also due to the impeccable mixing and mastering by Mike Marciano and Anthony Branker himself.
Among the 10 numbers in this recording, four are vocals and in the way that Kadri Voorand transforms the melodies and lyrics into something beyond beautiful, the listener is left wishing there could be another CD devoted to her stylings joined to Branker's music alone. It is a near perfect match - especially in 'The Holy Innocent'. But in this CD there is reason to celebrate at every track. This is just fine writing and performance and one of the best jazz albums around. Grady Harp, January 11
This is the 3rd Cd of Ascent with Anthony Branker that I have and I was not disappointed. This will become my favorite CD of the three. The rhythms are driving and the solo work is great. Definitely a tight ensemble.