Anthony Branker and Imagine – Beauty Within
Where he leads, they gleefully follow. Anthony Branker and Imagine present Beauty Within (Origin Records, 2016), an engaging set of all-original music.
Branker is composer and musical director. The Imagine musicians are Ralph Bowen, tenor and soprano saxophones; Pete McCann, guitar; Fabian Almazan, piano; Linda Oh, double bass; Rudy Royston, drums.
Oh goes it alone to introduce the title song. The nearly two minute solo shows the bassist’s dexterity. A little stick work from Royston cues the band. The song has a haunting, enchanting mood, whether Bowen or Almazan has the lead. Royston, rather than keep a steady beat, mixes rolls with independent strikes, deftly shifting from cymbals to toms and back. The melody is a duet between tenor sax and guitar. Entering the final phase, Bowen stretches out, bringing more energy and passion.