Via International Anthem
In July of 2022, just one month before jaimie branch’s death sent shockwaves around the world, the trumpet player and composer was in Chicago at International Anthem studios putting finishing touches on an album. It was a suite of music she had composed and then recorded with her flagship ensemble, Fly or Die, over the course of a residency at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska. In her wake, the album was near complete, with only mixing tweaks, final titles, and artwork to be fully realized. In the months following, her family (led by sister Kate Branch), her band (Jason Ajemian, Lester St. Louis, and Chad Taylor), and her collaborators at IARC banded together to gather memories, texts, emails, photographs, artwork and fragments belonging to jaimie to light the path forward. The goal was always to do what jaimie would have done. Packaged in stunning artwork by John Herndon, Damon Locks, and branch herself, Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war)) is jaimie’s final album with her Fly or Die quartet.
From the album’s liner notes, written by jaimie’s Fly or Die bandmates:
“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.”