jaimie branch, Jazz Composer and Trumpeter, Dies at 39

jaimie branch, the jazz composer and trumpeter, died on Monday night. The label International Anthem, which released branch’s music, confirmed the news in the below statement. She was 39.

At 9:21 pm on Monday, August 22, composer and trumpeter jaimie branch passed away in her home in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Her family, friends and community are heart broken. jaimie was a daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend and teacher; she touched countless numbers of people with her music and spirit, both of which are fearless, truthful and beautiful, and will live on in hearts and ears forever. jaimie’s family asks not just for your thoughts and prayers but also for your action. Show your love and support for your family and friends and anyone who may be in need — just like jaimie did for all of us.

A renowned improviser, branch played and recorded with multiple groups. She released her first solo album Fly or Die on International Anthem in 2017. In 2019, its sequel followed—Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise. Earlier this year, her project Anteloper with Jason Nazary released its new album Pink Dolphins; it followed 2018’s Kudu. She also contributed to the new Eli Winter album and released an album in 2021 with the group Mofaya!. In addition to her career as a solo artist, she worked with multiple indie rock bands, including TV on the Radio, Spoon, Local H, and Atlas Moth.

Fly or Die Live arrived in 2021, and it featured her shouting political lyrics on “prayer for amerikkka pt. 1 & 2.” In an interview with The Quietus’ Stewart Smith, she discussed the song’s story about a South American woman seeing violence on the U.S. border. “My mom is a social worker, and was dealing with the family that I talk about in prayer for amerikkka part two,’” branch said. “One thing I want to make sure that people understand is that it wasn’t a song about Trump. I mean, Biden is in power. The Democrat is in power now. We still have these prisons along the border. They’re still there.”

On her website, branch offered this statement to describe her practice: “All the music that ever was and ever will be is here now. It exists in a cloud just above our heads and when we play, we pluck it out of the ether for a lil while before sending it back up.”

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