Jaimie Branch: Fly Or Die Fly Or Die Fly Or Die ((world war)) review – last post from a psychedelic warrior

(International Anthem)
The punk-jazz trumpeter died last year without star recognition but this posthumous album is testament to her inventiveness and commitment to ‘make music into the void’

When an artist dies young, it often feels as though their passing is especially hard to bear. “So full of life,” is a phrase we reach for. However rote, that sentiment is pretty much unavoidable when you hear the surging, posthumous album by trumpetist, band leader and arch-collaborator Jaimie Branch, who died this time last year aged 39. Branch had very nearly finished this third outing under her own name with her Fly Or Die quartet: percussionist Chad Taylor, acoustic bassist Jason Ajemian and cellist-flautist-keyboard player Lester St Louis. Two groundbreaking, energetic studio albums precede it: 2017’s Fly Or Die and 2019’s Fly Or Die II – Bird Dogs of Paradise.

As the band name suggests, there was a breakneck, YOLO verve to everything Branch did that goes double here. Wolf-like howls punctuate these tracks, vying for primacy with scything, bowed strings. Rhythms drive, tumble and sashay. In the liner notes, her band speak of “longer forms, more modulations and more noise”.

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