Last year, the avant-garde jazz trumpeter jaimie branch died suddenly at the age of 39. In her lifetime, branch was a prolific collaborator, but she was also known for her solo work and for what she did as one half of the duo Anteloper. Shortly before her death, branch finished work on a solo album that she recorded last April, during a residency at Omaha’s Bemis Center For Contemporary Art. That album titled Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war)), will come out later this summer, right around the one-year anniversary of branch’s death.
For Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war)), jaimie branch recorded with cellist Lester St. Louis, bassist Jason Ajemian, and drummer Chad Taylor. At the time of her death, only a few of the album’s details had to be sorted out, and her family, bandmates, and collaborators, sat down to figure out the artwork and titles, doing everything the way branch would’ve wanted. In a press release, branch’s bandmates have this to say:
jaimie never had small ideas. She always thought big. The minute you told her she couldn’t do something, or that something would be too difficult to accomplish, the more determined and focused she became. And this album is big. Far bigger and more demanding — for us, and for you — than any other Fly or Die record. For this, jaimie wanted to play with longer forms, more modulations, more noise, more singing, and as always, grooves and melodies. She was a dynamic melodicist. jaimie wanted this album to be lush, grand and full of life, just as she was. Every time we take a listen, we feel the deep imprint of her all over the music, and we see all of us making it together.
First single “take over the world” is driving and urgent and percussive, with branch going back and forth between riotous trumpet blasts and feverish chanting, over a frantically locked-in rhythm section. Check out director Jon Philpot’s video and the album’s tracklist below.
01 “aurora rising”
02 “borealis dancing”
03 “burning grey”
04 “the mountain”
05 “baba louie”
06 “bolinko bass”
07 “and kuma walks”
08 “take over the world”
09 “world war ((reprise))”
Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war)) is out 8/25 on International Anthem. Pre-order it here.