His eighth album, "What Place Can Be For Us: A Suite In 10 Movements" (Origin), is the second recording with his Imagine ensemble, an octet built around guitarist Pete McCann, pianist Fabian Almazan, and bassist Linda May Han Oh plus Walter Smith III (tenor saxophone), Remy Le Boeuf (alto and soprano saxophones), Philip Dizack (trumpet, flugelhorn), Donald Edwards (drums), and on two tracks, Alison Crockett (vocal and spoken word). As you should be able to tell by the title, the themes of this new collection are inclusion, immigration, belonging, citizenship, and the never-ending racism that permeates the United States. Ms. Crockett is featured on the opening track, "The Door of No Return", an episodic that blends the squalling guitar of Pete McCann, the telegraph notes from the piano, and the words of poet Beatriz Esmer. There is a powerful solo from Smith III as well as well as brilliant background arrangements. The words hearken back to The Middle Passage (many more Black Africans were enslaved in Brazil than anywhere else on the American continent).
I, Too, Sing America" from Langston Hughes 1926 collection "The Weary Blues". It's a powerful work with fine piano work and a commanding solo from Smith III yet be sure to listen to how the alto sax and trumpet play a drone beneath the tenor sax and the heartfelt vocal.
Elsewhere, there's the nervous energy of McCann's guitar solo and the wistful alto sax solo from Le Boeuf on "Indivisible", the melancholy reminiscence of "Sundown Town" with far-ranging solos from Almazan and Dizack, and the "prog-rock meets hard bop" riff on "Sanctuary City" and the crackling guitar of McCann and keening tenor sax.
As you should be able to tell, Dr. Anthony Branker does not shy away from controversy; instead he channels his concerns, beliefs, and his fears into music that often vibrates with urgency, compassion, commitment, and impressive musicianship. Don't you shy away from "What Place Can Be For Us: A Suite In 10 Movements"––instead, embrace its activism, its message, and its power.
For more information, go to www.anthonybranker.com/. To hear more and to purchase the album, go to
Here's the ensemble playing and presenting the words of poet Langston Hughes on "I, Too, Sing America":
Vocalist and educator Christine Correa came to the United States from her native Bombay, India, in 1979––she came to attend the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA, which is where she met two people who became very important in her life, pianist Ran Blake and pianist Frank Carlberg who is a frequent collaborator as well as her husband. Ms. Correa is currently on the faculties of Columbia University’s Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program, Teacher’s College at Columbia University and the New School as well as the Director of the Maine Jazz Camp. She's recorded five duo albums with Ran Blake, 10 albums (in groups of various sizes) with Mr. Carlberg, and, at least, a half-dozen with other artists but never an album under own name.
When Malindy Sings"––the poet wrote his piece in "original" dialect but this adaptation is no "Uncle Remus". The music really swings with kudos to Boudreau for a fine solo. Ms. Lincoln wrote the words for "Mendacity"; her lyrics could have been written today. Here's an example; "The campaign trail winds on and on/In towns from coast to coast/The winner ain't the one who's straight/But he who lies the most." Sarin's drums are quite expressive while Newsome again serves as response to Ms. Correa's call. Listen below!
The album closes with Brown, Jr./Roach's "Freedom Day", a piece that is, at times, frolicsome, free, impulsive, pulsing with urgency, and in the end, questioning if we are really "free" (certainly the Black population of the United States has rarely been truly free to be).
From start to finish, "Just You Stand and Listen With Me" is quite powerful. Christine Correa not only celebrates the amazing and controversial music of Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, and Oscar Brown, Jr. but also asks questions about whether her adopted country–the United States–can ever truly be the place where "All Men (and Women) Are Created Equal".
For more information, go to https://christinecorrea.com/. To hear more and to purchase the album, go to https://sunnysiderecords.bandcamp.com/album/just-you-stand-and-listen-with-me-2.
Hear Ms. Correa singing Abbey Lincoln's words on "Mendacity":
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