ListN Up: jaimie branch (October 1, 2021)

ListN Up is a weekly series of artist-curated playlists that offer an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. 

jaimie branch is an improviser, composer, and trumpeter based in Brooklyn, NY. Earlier this year saw the acclaimed Fly or Die Live (International Anthem), a singular epic of raw cosmic brilliance from her quartet performing the previously released Fly or Die and Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise. branch’s works convey a dissatisfaction of American politics with a cutting sense of humor, serving to balance experimentalism and accessibility with party and erudition, “jazz” and the next thing.

Yo, what’s up! It’s your girl J Breezy a.k.a. jaimie branch coming at you from Zurich, Switzerland. The playlist you’re about to hear is basically all of my friends and homies from Chicago, LA, New York, D.C., and Philly. All of us record for the International Anthem Recording Company based out of Chicago, Illinois. It’s a label that talks about community, and I can tell you first hand it’s the real deal. These are some of my favorite musicians and favorite people on the planet. You’ve got Ben Lamar Gay, Angel Bat Dawid, Damon Locks and Black Monument Ensemble, Emmett Kelly and Rob Mazurek, Jeff Parker, and a couple of my own bands…oh, and the great Irreversible Entanglements: Moor Mother, Aquiles Navarro, Keir Neuringer, Luke Stewart, Tcheser Holmes — New York-D.C.-Philly powerhouse. A lot of these tunes are new, and I just want to say much love. Hope you’re all staying safe. See you soon.

prayer for Amerikkka pt. 1 + 2 by jaimie branch (feat. Lester St. Louis, Jason Ajemian, and Chad Taylor)

If you are unfamiliar with my music, this is a good place to start. This is the live version with visuals by Theodore Darst and Gregory Nachmanovitch. The pigeons in the video have future eyes, not horns.

Sometimes I Forget How Summer Looks On You by Ben Lamar Gay (feat. Ohmme)

Ben Lamar Gay is a true original — he is a multi-instrumentalist improvisor/composer in Chicago, and this is the first cut off his new record due out this fall on International Anthem. He is backed up on this one with the great vocals of fellow Chicagoans Ohmme (Macie Stewart + Sima Cunningham)

The Body Is Electric by Damon Locks and Black Monument Ensemble

The first time I heard this track, I knew it was an instant classic. The groove, the vocals, the message — it’s all so undeniable. This track features the clarinet of Angel Bat Dawid (more on her in a bit).

Nightswimming by Carlos Niño (with Dntel, Jamael Dean, and Jira ><)

Carlos Niño is part of the new International Anthem crew in Los Angeles, California. This record was my introduction to his music, and is a sprawling spiral of a journey that moves from beautifully layered electronica to fully acoustic single instruments and back again in an organic propulsion of imaginativity.

Lágrimas del Mar by Irreversible Entanglements

Irreverisble Entanglements is a quintet who punches straight through the bullshit to the truth of the matter. Vocalist Camae Ayewa a.k.a. Moor Mother fronts this fully improvised steam ship hailing from DC/Philly/NYC with Aquiles Navarro and Keir Neuringer on horns, Luke Stewart on bass, and Tcheser Holmes on drums.

Jumping the Broom by Angel Bat Dawid

The first time I was in London, I invited Angel Bat Dawid and Ben Lamar Gay to sit in with FLY or DIE on my tune Leaves of Glass. This was my first encounter with Angel musically, and I have been lucky to have many encounters since. She brings an immediate presence to any music she is a part of and transforms musicians and audiences alike… listen, there is a reason she is Angel the Oracle. This one is a cut off her recent solo tape.

Soledad Saboteur by Anteloper

Anteloper is another side of my musical identity, the electric side (boogie oogie oogie yeah). Originally a cassette that we crafted for tour, Tour Beats Vol. 1 now lives on 45 RPM 12” LP. This cut features vocals from my infant niece, Young Solé.

Back to the Ocean, Back to the Sea by Rob Mazurek & Emmett Kelly

I will let Emmett’s words speak for this one:

the Bombs that lit up the night sky..

you brought your body closer to mine
a thick must mixed with terpertine
i closed my eyes, and frozen in time, began to count down
a half an hour ’til the roof goes up in flames
the bodies on the boulevard collapsing in
waves cracking bones
somehow we have been left alone, but
in little time our walls will crumble
an ocean breeze against a sand castle, you and i
the children who once lived inside
never did we notice what was so violent and near and closing in
we disappear back to the ocean
back to the waves
back to the ocean
back to the waves

Build a Nest by Jeff Parker (feat. Ruby Parker)

The last cut is from Jeff Parker, another Chicago luminary who has been a huge inspiration to me over the years. His musical output is vast, from post rock band Tortoise to recordings with the great Fred Anderson to his own projects that he currently releases with International Anthem. This cut features his daughter, Ruby Parker, on vocals.


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