Friday, June 01, 2018

Preview: Jaimie Branch Is Coming To Town

There is a lot of music happening this weekend. For instance, my bandmate Erin Dawes, from the Love Letters, is debuting with her newest project Go Go Gidget this Saturday at Howlers. On top of that, I had no idea that the Three Rivers Arts Festival is kicking off tonight (Friday night). Also on Friday night, one of the most promising new trumpet players in all of cutting edge jazz is coming to Alphabet City, the live space hosted by City of Asylum on the North Side.

The woman with the horn is Jaimie Branch. Last year, I reviewed her debut album Fly or Die here on the blog. It was one of my more effusive pieces of the year, which can be attributed to the fact that Fly or Die was that good. I thought for sure that I would be one of just a few people to notice her. (I always feel like I'm a little behind the curve on things like this.) Much to my surprise, JazzTimes ran a feature on her just a few months later. Branch also seemed to be the one everyone considered Best New Artist of 2017 too.

She recently released Kudu (International Anthem), a new album by a project called Anteloper. It features her together with drummer Jason Nazary (who played in Little Women with Darius Jones and Travis Laplante). The spare instrumentation might evoke Chicago Underground Duo, and like that group, Anteloper incorporates electronics into the music. But the comparison ends there because Branch and Nazary are all about movement. The album's initial blast of static electricity evolves into solid direction after about 90 seconds. Branch is equally devoted to dirty smears and bright, crisp melody lines. Much like Fly or Die, it's pretty exciting stuff. The album is available as a download or - if you know indie rockers this won't surprise you - as a cassette. Visit for details.

Or if you're in Pittsburgh Friday night (aka tonight, techinically), you can check out Branch and pick up a copy directly. She'll be performing with a slightly different unit, which is billed as Party Knüllers X Jaimie Branch. The first part of the moniker refers to the group of cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and Stoli L. Sozzleberg, who have been performing together around the U.S. and Europe. Branch has played with both of Party Knüllers but this is the first time she's toured with them. The show begins at 8 p.m. and there is no cover but reservations are required. Visit Alphabet City to make reservations and to find out about more shows coming up there.

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