January Artist Feature: Trumpeter Jaimie Branch

In a generation crowded with trumpet talent, Jaimie Branch has emerged in recent years as a unique voice capable of transforming every ensemble of which she is a part. At times fierce and direct, her scintillating tone also has the ability to ignite music from within while propelling a group organically. In 2015, Branch exploded onto the New York scene, quickly building associations with many of the other key innovators such as Brandon Lopez, Shayna Dulburger, Chris Welcome, Sam Weinberg, Chris Pitsiokos, Max Johnson, Kevin Shea, Jason Ajemian, Weasel Walter, Jason Nazary, Nathanial Morgan, Mike Pride, and Chad Taylor.

Upcoming Performances

  • Feb 3 – The Stone – 10 pm, $15 – Dither & TILT & friends play Cardew’s Treatise: Taylor Levine, Joshua Lopes, James Moore, Gyan Riley (guitars) Brian Chase, Carlos Costa, Mike McCurdy, Kevin Norton (percussion) Jaimie Branch (trumpet) Tim Leopold (trumpet, soprano trombone) Chris McIntyre (trombone) James Rogers (bass trombone, tuba)
    Dither, TILT brass and four percussionists perform Cornelius Cardew’s seminal work from the 1960s.
  • Feb 12 – Shapeshifter Lab – 8 pm, $10 – Welcome-Branch-Weinberg: Chris Welcome (guitar), Jaimie Branch (trumpet), Sam Weinberg (tenor sax)
  • Feb 17 – Rye Bar – 10 pm, $10 – Jaimie Branch (trumpet), Jason Stein (bass clarinet), Brandon Lopez (bass), Chad Taylor (drums)

Interview

Cisco Bradley: What path did you follow to becoming a musician?

Jaimie Branch: I just haven’t stopped yet.  My ma put me in Suzuki piano as a kid, my brother Russell was a musician, and I wanted to be like him, I started playing the trumpet at 9, and then I didn’t stop playing the trumpet. That was a while ago now.

CB: Who and what have been your biggest inspirations?

JB: Oh man, so many people. In no particular order, and with many exemptions, Booker Little, Miles Davis, Don Cherry, Axel Doerner, Ted Curson, Chet Baker, Duke Ellington, Albert Ayler, Monk, Mingus, Tortoise, Tony Williams, Joe Maneri, Ornette Coleman, Kid Koala, Cam’Ron, Os Mutantes, Nirvana, the Pixies, John Coltrane, Steve Lacy, Joe Morris, John McNeil, Fugazi, US Maple, SKAUR, Dos One, Varese, Wu Tang Clan, Eric Dolphy, Rothko, Gerhard Richter, Basquiat, Ralph Steadman, Hunter S. Thompson, TS Eliot, Kerouac, Bukowski, Harmony Korine, Larry Clark, Robert Frank, Studs Terkel, Arthur Miller, Matt Groening, my Chicago homies, my East Coast Dogs.

CB: What was the most substantive impact that the Chicago scene had upon you as an artist?

JB: Well, I really grew up musically there. Fred Anderson’s Velvet Lounge, The Hungry Brain, 3030, the Empty Bottle, the Hideout, Hotti Biscotti, Heaven Gallery — it’s just that I saw these incredible shows, all the time. What’s wrong with that?

CB: What were the main projects that you were involved in while in Chicago?

JB:

  1. Princess, Princess: trio with Frank Rosaly and Toby Summerfield
  2. Sherpa: trio with Fred Lonberg Holm and Toby Summerfield
  3. Musket: rock outfit with: Fred Lonberg Holm, Toby Summerfield, John-Paul Glover, Jason Ajemian/Nate McBride, Frank Rosaly, and Theo Katsounis
  4. Branch/Riordan Duo: with Marc Riordan
  5. Rupert: Toby Summerfield, Marc Riordan
  6. Battle Cats: Anton Hatwich, Toby Summerfield
  7. Flytrap: Anton Hatwich, Marc Riordan
  8. Bullet Hell: Jacob Kart, Theo Darst
  9. and one of the first groups i put together was … Block and Tackle: Jason Stein, Jeb Bishop, Jason Roebke

CB: What compelled you to move to Brooklyn?

JB: Well, I was finishing a Master’s degree in Baltimore, and had to decide what to do next. I was broke, so I decided to move to Brooklyn.

CB: What projects have you developed since arriving?

JB: I’ve had a lot of gigs with bands that have played once or twice trying to figure out my identity here. There are a lot of badasses here, it’s been fun. Some of these bands are:

  1. Skybirds: Chris Welcome, Toby Summerfield, Booker Stardrum
  2. CROOKS: John Welsh, Brandon Lopez, Sam Ospovat
  3. Jaimie Branch Trio with Brandon Lopez, Mike Pride
  4. Branch/Dulburger/Walter: Shayna Dulburger and Weasel Walter
  5. Welcome, Branch Weinberg: Chris Welcom, Sam Weinberg
  6. Jaimie Branch Quartet: Tomeka Reid, Jason Ajemian, Chad Taylor

CB: What are the greatest challenges facing artists working and living in Brooklyn today?

JB: Well existential crisis aside, I guess it’s money. Brooklyn is stupid expensive. That’s obvious. We’re all at least a little dumb for living here. Hooray!

CB: Who/what have had the biggest influences upon your sound?

JB: Don Cherry. Axel Doerner. Booker Little (I wish). Miles.

–Cisco Bradley, February 1, 2016

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