Fierce and fearless, her sheer love of music and unorthodox collaborations saw her respected across musical genres
Jaimie Branch, who has died at the age of 39, was an internationally acclaimed trumpeter who brought a demotic sensibility to some often very experimental music. Appearing on stage in baggy clothes and a trademark baseball cap, she could be brash, swaggering, hilariously foul-mouthed and profane – all qualities reflected by the sonic sucker punch of her playing. “Playing the trumpet is like singing your soul,” she said. “When you’re improvising your whole body feels like it’s lighting up.”
Born in Long Island, New York in June 1983, she started piano lessons at the age of three and trumpet at the age of nine. Her first teacher was a mariachi player in Chicago. “It meant that I learned to play loud, with loads of vibrato,” she said. She later learned to tone down the vibrato, but the forthright, incendiary delivery remained. She was a fan of punk and grunge – Nirvana, the Descendents, NOFX, Minor Threat – throughout her teens, and those hardcore tendencies often spilled into her jazz.
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