Jaimie Branch

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Fly or Die (2017), 7/10
Anteloper: Kudu (2017), 7.5/10
Anteloper: Pink Dolphins (2022), 6.5/10
Fly or Die II - Bird Dogs of Paradise (2019), 6/10

Chicago's white female trumpeter Jaimie Branch was a member of Keefe Jackson's Project Project that recorded Just Like This (2007) and of Tim Daisy's New Fracture Quartet that recorded 1000 Lights (2008). She formed several bands and recorded Smart Bombs (2013) under the moniker Bullet Hell. She moved to New York to seek treatment for heroin addiction, and remained there to start a professional career. She was a member of the Sun Ra-inspired Galactic Unity Ensemble that recorded We Have Always Been Here (2017), with Todd Carter and Brent Gutzeit of TV Pow, Adam Vida of U.S. Maple, Tim Kinsella of Joan Of Arc, percussionist Michael Zerang, and others. She recorded Fly or Die (2017), the first album credited to her, in a quartet with cellist Tomeka Reid, bassist Jason Ajemian and drummer Chad Taylor, notably The Storm. She also sang on the follow-up, Fly or Die II - Bird Dogs of Paradise (november 2018), notably in Prayer for Amerikkka Pt.1 and 2, accompanied by cellist Lester St Louis, Ajemian and Taylor.

Anteloper was a duo with Jason Nazary, both of them on electronics besides trumpet (Branch) and drums (Nazary). The cassette Kudu (june 2017) documents live improvisations at the border between free-jazz and post-rock. Her saxophone soloing in Oryx fills the enormous space that the subtle electronics create while Nazary's drumming try to narrow it. Liquid glitchy electronics sculpts the soundscape of the eleven-minute Lethal Curve that the saxophone enters after a few minutes later and tames with vibrant phrasing, helped by spirited and energetic drumming. the 15-minute Ohoneotree Suite is a suite of alien radio messages, of cosmic deflagrations, of droning melancholy, of desolate nostalgia, and finally of bursting tension and somber acceptance. Her saxophone is one of the most expressive of her generation. The ten-minute Seclusion Self is a rare case of well-conceived dark ambient jazz.

The duo's second album, Pink Dolphins (2022), produced by Jeff Parker (who also plays guitar and synthesizer), contains the 15-minute One Living Genus. Inia updates noir-jazz to the electronic age. She dialogues with Chad Taylor's mbira and with funky synth bass lines in the twisted disco-music of Delfin Rosado. The artificial mellow ballad Earthlings does not bode well for the future, and the 15-minute One Living Genus, which feels like a cathartic release of neurosis, is mostly a display for the drumming and the electronic sounds.

Fly or Die Live (january 2020) was recorded with cellist Lester St. Louis, bassist Jason Ajemian and drummer Chad Taylor.

She also formed Mofaya with tenor saxophonist John Dikeman, bassist Luke Stewart and drummer Aleksandar Skoric, a band that recorded Like One Long Dream (2021).

She also played keyboards and percussion and sang on Fly Or Die Fly Or Die Fly Or Die (april 2022) with Lester St Louis (cello, voice, flute, marimba, keyboard), Jason Ajemian (double and electric bass, voice, marimba) and Chad Taylor (drums, mbira, timpani, bells), plus, as guests, Nick Broste (trombone), Rob Frye (flute and bass clarinet), Daniel Villarreal (conga and percussion) and vocalists Akenya Seymour and Kuma Dog.

She also played electronics on Stembells (april 2022), featuring Isaiah Collier on saxes and percussion, Gilles Coronado on electric guitar and Tim Daisy on drums, and containing the 37-minute Hmmmm.

Jaimie Branch died in 2022 at the age of 39.

(Copyright © 2021 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
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