Monday, December 10, 2012
Branker's Ascent; Warfield's Octet - Bob Stewart
"With a unique combination of depth and accessibility, Branker is able to put forth a jazz perspective steeped in soulful optimism...crafting some of today's finest compositions." So says All About Jazz of composer Anthony Branker, who leads his band Ascent on their fourth release, "Together." Dr. Branker is director of the jazz studies program at Princeton University where he directs an extensive list of ensembles. As a composer, he's received composition prizes, commissions, served as composer-in-residence, and has had his music featured in performances around the world. His jazz collective Ascent was formed in 2004 and has featured such significant jazz artists as Tia Fuller, Conrad Herwig, Mark Gross, Steve Wilson and Antonio Hart.
Recognized as a dynamic and innovative composer, bandleader and trumpeter, Bill Warfield has energized audiences, performers and writers for more than two decades. He's performed with such diverse artists at Ornette Coleman, Mel Torme, David Sanborn, Yellowjackets and Sonny Stitt. Much of his work as a leader has been in front of a big band, but for his new disc -- A Window That Shows Me the Moon -- he presents his New York Jazz Octet, featuring saxophonist Don Braden and pianist Kenny Werner. The program includes five of his own compositions along with his arrangements of works by Lee Konitz and Milt Jackson.