Recording for America’s hottest incubator of new jazz, Chicago’s International Anthem label, trumpeter Jaimie Branch has released two acclaimed albums in the last few years: Fly or Die (2017) and Fly or Die II: bird dogs of paradise (2019). The former ranges from spacey, Miles Davis–like reveries to rhythmically intricate and mercurial charges that make you want to dedicate your life to fighting injustices. The latter occasionally incorporates Branch’s and guests’ doleful and indignant vocals, which amplify the angular menace that she and her crack band—drummer Chad Taylor, cellist Lester St. Louis, and double bassist Jason Ajemian—summon. For a taste, check out the 11-minute “prayer for amerikkka pt 1 & 2,” one of the most compelling tracks of last year.
by Dave Segal
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