Jaimie Branch \\ ‘Fly Or Die’ Documentary Premiere
Trumpeter Jaimie Branch is a straight talker; “If I weren’t a musician, high goals would be like, criminal”.
In a mini documentary produced by film maker Mark Pallman and Chicago label International Anthem, Jaimie Branch explains the concept around her debut album, Fly Or Die. Released on 5 May, Fly Or Die is fearless and unconcerned with limits. To be frank, it’s disgustingly cool.
In the current jazz scene which is heavily distinguishable by electronic influences and thick textures, Branch’s release clearly bucks trends, nodding towards free jazz. Sparse and busy, it’s unpredictable and satisfyingly tense. Having recently moved to Brooklyn, New York, Branch presents her hometown Chicago’s aesthetic via a New York outlook in her album and documentary.
In the doc, Jaimie Branch explains; “Moving to New York was a quick decision. The idea of the subway, the idea of the hustle and bustle… the pace of New York is so quick.” Branch adds, “I wanted New York to hear what Chicago sounds like”.
Stunningly shot, the doc also introduces us to Branch‘s writing methods, which uses traditional notation, instructions, and drawings.
Jaimie Branch highlights her fellow musicians on the album; cellist Tomeka Reid, bassist Jason Ajemian and drummer Chad Taylor. All four of them are Chicago artists who have relocated to New York. Despite having a decade of live performances under her cap, this is Branch’s first release as a leader, with a dozen musicians on Fly Or Die in total.
Jaimie Branch – much like her music – is confident in her concepts. Fly Or Die is as bold as it is distinctive. There are no half-hearted ideas to be found on the album; as she says, “We’re either gonna fly together or we’re gonna die apart”.
JS | Tina Edwards