RTV talks with the multitalented improviser, composer, and trumpeter Jaimie Branch about her quartet FLY or DIE’s show at Roulette, performing compositions from their acclaimed records: Fly or Die and FLY or DIE II: bird dogs of paradise.
The live performance brings to life the raw power and boundary-pushing abilities of Branch as a player and composer, and showcases the combined playing power of Lester St. Louis (cello, percussion), Jason Ajemian (double bass, percussion, vocals), and Chad Taylor (drums, mbira).
This performance follows the release of FLY or DIE II: bird dogs of paradise. Recorded and released late last year after a lengthy European tour, the album is the result Branch’s insatiable need to explore new frontiers of composition and style. It also marks the instrumentalist’s first venture as a vocalist. “So much beauty lies in the abstract of instrumental music,” notes Branch in the album’s liner notes, “but being this ain’t a particularly beautiful time, I’ve chosen a more literal path. The voice is good for that.”
FLY OR DIE
Jaimie Branch: trumpet
Lester St. Louis: cello, percussion
Jason Ajemian: double bass, percussion, vocals
Chad Taylor: drums, mbira
Performance date: 03/12/2020
Episode release date: 03/12/2020
Jaimie Branch (b. 1983) is a Brooklyn-based improvisor, composer, and trumpeter whose work is primarily focused on expanding the sonic and technical limitations of the trumpet in free and improvised musics. Branch received her bachelors degree in music from the New England Conservatory of Music where she studied with John McNeil, Joe Morris, and Steve Lacy. In May 2017, Branch released her debut record as a leader, Fly or Die (International Anthem 011), to critical acclaim. Her follow up release, “Fly or Die II: bird dogs of paradise” was released in October 2019 also on the International Anthem label. Branch believes that all the music in the Universe lives in a cloud just above our heads and that if you listen, you can hear it. Listen. Can you hear it?