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Anthony Branker

Born: August 28, 1958    Primary Instrument: Composer/conductor

Anthony Branker

Composer Anthony Branker has recorded for Origin Records and Sons of Sound Records and has six releases in his fast growing and musically rich discography. They include: Spirit Songs (Sons of Sound, 2006), Blessings (Origin Records, 2009), Dance Music (Origin Records, 2010), Dialogic (Origin Records, 2011), Together (Origin Records, 2012), and Uppity (Origin Records, 2013). He leads two jazz collectives that include Anthony Branker & Ascent and Anthony Branker & Word Play, which have featured Mark Gross, Tia Fuller, Steve Wilson, Antonio Hart, Ralph Bowen, Andy Hunter, Clifford Adams, Conrad Herwig, Eli Asher, Jonny King, Jim Ridl, Bryan Carrott, Kenny Davis, John Benitez, Belden Bullock, Donald Edwards, Adam Cruz, Ralph Peterson Jr., Wilby Fletcher, Renato Thoms, Kadri Voorand, and Freddie Bryant. ...
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Awards:

U.S. Fulbright Scholar

United States Presidential Scholars Teacher Award

Institute for Arts and Humanities Education Distinguished Teaching Award

New Jersey Association for Jazz Education 2009 Jazz Education Achievement Award for “Outstanding Accomplishment in the Field of Jazz Studies and Continued Dedication to the New Jersey Jazz Education Community.”

“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

“A soulful album that should only be the start of any exploration of Branker's work” —eMusic Review of “Together” CD

“Branker's music relies on a strong rhythmic foundation, with Afro-Cuban inspired grooves and solo sections over energetic vamps…With a unique combination of depth and accessibility, Branker is able to put forth a jazz perspective steeped in soulful optimism.” —John Barron, All About Jazz

“Composer/arranger/trumpeter/mentor Anthony Branker is one of those gurus who, although he has appeared in the spotlight as a leader or co-collaborator with various big names, has made his most lasting mark as an educator and composer…(he) has proven to be an inspiration to many known and unknown musicians...Spirit Songs is Branker’s all-cards-on-the-table look at his compositional being, a deeply spiritual individual who uses his faith to imbue his art for eight compelling compositions. This emotive, yet accessible and celebratory set favors cunning ensemble interplay…With a diverse set of compelling compositions and an inspired ensemble, Spirit Songs could easily be considered a breakout record for Branker…there is a depth and beauty that bears fruit with each investigation...Bravo, Mr. Branker, may you continue to create and inspire.” —One Final Note

“The best works for small groups are often the ones whose written passages set up...the most inspiring moments. Trumpeter Anthony Branker understands this, and so his Spirit Songs is a blowing showcase…” —Down Beat

“Here, we find six veteran performers who interpret Branker’s modern mainstream material with flair. Each piece provides a lovely balance of melody and harmony over a substantially fluid rhythm. All the essential elements are there...Cohesion seems to be the byword of the session, as everyone works together as if they’ve known each other since early childhood. That kind of performance can only come through proper preparation, which is the teacher’s forte. The end result, of course, is his ultimate reward...Spirit Songs proves that music coming from the heart will always provide a welcome setting when brought together in a cohesive community.” —Jim Santella

“Ascent clearly reveres Branker and his heartfelt compositions; these are jazz songs you’re meant to feel, with the kind of transcendent, emotional solos that even non-jazz fans can sense contain something special.” —Audiophile Audition

As a Leader

UPPITY: Anthony Branker & Word Play; Origin Records, 2013

Tracks: Let's Conversate!; Dance Like No One Is Watching; Three Gifts (from a Nigerian Mother to God); Across the Divide; Uppity; Ballad for Trayvon Martin

Personnel: Ralph Bowen: tenor saxophone. Andy Hunter: trombone & keyboards. Eli Asher: trumpet & flugelhorn. Jim Ridl: piano & fender rhodes. Kenny Davis: acoustic & electric bass. Donald Edwards: drums. Charmaine Lee: vocals. Anthony Branker: composer & musical director

TOGETHER: Anthony Branker & Ascent; Origin Records, 2012

Tracks: Unity; For Woody & Bu; Little Rascal; Saaremaa; That Was Then...; Song of We

Personnel: Mark Gross: alto & soprano saxophones. Ralph Bowen: tenor saxophone. Jonny King: fender rhodes. Kenny Davis: acoustic & electric bass. Donald Edwards: drums. Anthony Branker: composer & musical director

DIALOGIC: Anthony Branker & Word Play; Origin Records, 2011

Tracks: Ancestral Tales; Land of Milk and Honey; Iggery-Poncheek; Skirting the Issue; Y not?; The Selfless Soul; Dance of the Aesthetics; More Than Words; The Fire Spitters

Personnel: Ralph Bowen: tenor & soprano saxophones. Jim Ridl: piano & fender rhodes. Kenny Davis: bass. Adam Cruz: drums. Anthony Branker: composer & musical director

DANCE MUSIC: Anthony Branker & Ascent; Origin Records, 2010

Tracks: 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: Tia Fuller: alto saxophone. Ralph Bowen: tenor & soprano saxophones. Clifford Adams Jr.: trombone. Jonny King: piano. Kenny Davis: bass. Adam Cruz: drums. Kadri Voorand: vocals. Freddie Bryant: guitar. Anthony Branker: composer & musical director

BLESSINGS: Anthony Branker & Ascent; Origin Records, 2009

Tracks: Ascent; The Holy Innocent; Crystal Angel; Sacred Song; Blessings; Arise; Wisdom; Never Alone; Praise

Personnel: Steve Wilson: alto saxophone. Ralph Bowen: tenor & soprano saxophones. Clifford Adams Jr.: trombone. Bryan Carrott: vibraphone. Jonny King: piano. Belden Bullock: bass. Wilby Fletcher: drums. Renato Thoms: congas. Anthony Branker: composer & musical director

SPIRIT SONGS: Anthony Branker & Ascent; Sons of Sound Records, 2006

Tracks: Chant for Peace Eternal; Parris in April; Spirit Song; Sketches of Selim; Imani [Faith]; In God’s Hands; Mentor; J.C.’s Passion

Personnel: Antonio Hart: alto & soprano saxophones. Ralph Bowen: tenor & soprano saxophones. Clifford Adams Jr.: trombone. Jonny King: piano. John Benitez: bass. Ralph Peterson Jr.: drums. Anthony Branker: composer & musical director

Disclaimer: All About Jazz is not responsible for the accuracy of the discographical data at the website(s) provided. If a link is no longer valid, please contact discography@allaboutjazz.com. Thank you.

Primary Instrument:
Composer/conductor

Location:
Princeton, NJ

Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.

Credentials/Background:
Dr. Anthony D.J. Branker holds the endowed chair of the Anthony H.P Lee Senior Lecturer in Jazz Studies, is Founder/Director of the Program in Jazz Studies, and serves as Associate Director of the Program in Musical Performance at Princeton University, where he directs an extensive list of ensembles and teaches 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.

Clinic/Workshop Information:
creating in collaboration; modal jazz composition, group composition & improvisation; big bands; small groups

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Download jazz mp3 “Unity” by Anthony Branker
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