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Jaimie Branch, American trumpeter and songwriter, has died aged 39

Jaimie Branch • Trumpet
Jonathan Chimene

Last Monday, August 22nd, at 9 pm, jaimie branch passed away at her home in Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York. The news was released last night by publisher International Anthem , with no information given on the causes of her death. The trumpeter was only 39 years old.

Branch was born and raised in New York and it was there that he began to learn the piano and later on, he reached the trumpet, an instrument in which he became famous; at age 14, the artist moved with her family to Chicago. In terms of studies, her training went through the New England Conservatory, in Boston, and the Towson University, in Maryland — at this formative time she was part of the Tusker punk-ska band and was introduced to free jazz.

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After more troubled times – the heroine entered his life in 2008 –, his return to base was halfway to a new tranquility and the editing of his debut album. In 2017, Fly or Die becomes available through the label founded by Scott McNiece and David Allen — and that’s when she is recognized globally as one of the most relevant trumpeters and composers of jazz’s present. In 2019, the sequel, FLY or DIE II: bird dogs of paradise , would only help to understand that there was even more to discover in her musical proposal. In conversation with Rhymes and Beatsbefore a performance at gnration, in Braga, last year, branch said that the use of voice in this project had helped to understand his more politicized and combative position.

In that same interview with Filipe Costa, death, that word that constantly appears in the titles of his catalog in its own name, was addressed: “I feel that you are approaching life or approaching death. So it’s kind of a choice, like choosing to fly — choosing to get closer to life.”

In 2021, and after in 2020 we put her on the list of 20 women who made waves in jazz , FLY or DIE LIVE would deserve attention in the Blue Notes in November — and was third in the selection of the best of the year of the same category, signed by Rui Miguel Abreu.

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The Portuguese public did not lack, like the one in Braga, of opportunities to see her in action live. More recently, in this year’s edition of Jazz em Agosto, it was possible to watch his creativity in duo with Jason Nazary in Antelope and there we wrote :

“The photo that Jaimie posted on his networks makes it clear that the trumpet is just one of the tools at his disposal: a set of controllers, synthesizers, effects and other electronic devices served, along with the identical arsenal of drummer Jason Nazary, to fill the aural space available with a dense fog of bleeps and bloops, a thick electronic mass over which were heard a drums with rock muscle made of tense and insistent repetitions, without technicist adornments of any kind, and brief trumpet imitations that never reached ‘solo’ status – more tweets than long posts, more sudden shouts than thoughtful speeches.”

In this program designed by the Calouste Gulbenkin Foundation for 2022, branch was also part of the ensemble put together by Rob Mazurek. It will not be unreasonable to think that they were two of his last moments on stage in his lifetime.

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