Jaimie Branch – Fly or Die

2017 – International Anthem


This album landed a spot on many "best of" lists for 2017. With its long form composition, engaging playing, and beautiful artwork, it deserved the recognition. A lot has been written about “Fly or Die” regarding those topics so I thought it might be interesting to talk about one aspect that I found compelling. Jaimie is a brilliant player; technique (normal and extended), feel, and blend are all present in her playing, and she could do anything that she would want to. But throughout the album, she chooses points to stick with one note, repeating it and messing with the attack and time. I love it! The confidence that she has in her playing, and her ears are so in tune with what is happening around her that she plays exactly what makes the music better. She could have done crazy runs up and down the register, but decided what would impact more would be to hit one note and use it to accent the other players. This would seem, on the surface, to put her to the back of the ensemble in the moment, but it doesn’t. She stays front and center. She plays with such conviction that it would be impossible to interpret her playing as anything but lead (unless she wants you to). Great album, great playing, great composition, great artwork,…do you need more? Go buy it!