featuring Jaimie Branch, trumpet, Tomeka Reid, cello, Jason Ajemian, bass, Chad Taylor, drums. 121 Club, Eastworks, 116 Pleasant St., Easthampton, MA.
A mainstay of the Chicago jazz scene and an active recent addition to the New York scene, Jaimie Branch is a trumpeter known for her “ghostly sounds,” says The New York Times, and for “sucker punching” crowds straight from the jump off, says Time Out. Her classical training and “unique voice capable of transforming every ensemble of which she is a part” (Jazz Right Now) has contributed to a wide range of projects not only in jazz but also punk, noise, indie rock, electronic and hip-hop. Branch’s work as a composer and a producer, as well as a sidewoman for the likes of William Parker, Matana Roberts, TV on the Radio and Spoon, is all on display on her debut record, Fly or Die (International Anthem, 2017). The recording features Tomeka Reid, Jason Ajemian and Chad Taylor. It is a unique and unconventional introduction to her work.
“Fly or Die is a bold announcement,” writes S. Victor Aaron, “a variation of the battle cry ‘go big or go home’, and the exciting up-and-coming trumpet player/composer Jaimie Branch flat out flies for her audacious debut album.”
A Chicago native, Branch began playing trumpet at the age of nine, and has also worked around her home town as a sound engineer for Tim Daisy and Ken Vandermark, among others. Branch moved to New York a few years ago to complete a Master’s degree and settled in Brooklyn. Branch has worked with Daisy and Vandermark as well as with cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, William Parker and Matana Roberts. Assembling a cadre of local Chicago notables for her first outing, Branch has stacked the deck with top notch talent reflecting her own drawing power. Drummer Chad Taylor is best known as one-half of the Chicago Underground Duo with cornetist Rob Mazurek and a member of many Mazurek formations. Bassist Jason Ajemian has also worked with Mazurek and Roberts as well as Marc Ribot and Matt Bauder. Cellist Tomeka Reid has deep roots in the AACM, collaborating with Anthony Braxton, Nicole Mitchell, George Lewis and Roscoe Mitchell. They have all recorded under their own name.
“What makes Branch so engaging,” writes John Sharpe, “is that allied to the experimental she possesses an innate melodic sensibility, often reiterating subtly modulated variations on thematic material.”