“At its peak, Jaimie Branch’s trumpet playing has the feeling of a prelingual shriek, a cry out into the distance that intuits no response.” —Guardian
It takes guts and finesse to challenge an audience’s perspective while still inviting them in for an immersive, communal experience. Jaimie Branch and her crew pull it off with style. Organic and fearless, this is in-your-face jazz music that is unencumbered and pure—defiantly modern, first-person, and unstuck from notions and expectations. It’s reminiscent of works by Julius Hemphill and his cohort in his heyday, and Branch’s playing recalls Bill Dixon, Booker Little, or Don Cherry, among other top-flight trumpeters. Each piece is sophisticated but also intuitive, the product of a hyperactive and opinionated mind, translated into a distinctive, fiery sound in search of a game audience. In 2017, she released her debut solo album, Fly or Die—truly a benchmark statement in modern jazz—followed, if not surpassed, by last year’s even more daring sequel Fly or Dye II: Bird Dogs of Paradise (released, like its predecessor, on the formidable Chicago label International Anthem), cut with Chad Taylor (drums), Jason Ajemian (bass), and Lester St. Louis (cello).