March 19-26, 2020

jaimie branch / FLY OR DIE

See All Tours

jaimie branch / FLY OR DIE
Brooklyn, NY
Grant amount: $15,000


About the Artist

Fly or Die is the compositional outlet of trumpeter, composer, and (now) vocalist, jaimie branch (b. 1983). Branch, originally from Chicago and now Brooklyn based, has worked for many years as a sideman and lead many ensembles in Chicago, Baltimore, and New York. With the release of her debut album as a leader, Fly or Die in 2017, and the surprise success of that album, she has catapulted onto the main stages of many jazz festivals at home and abroad.

The New York Times featured Branch in an article about women jazz instrumentalists in December 2017 and the following week named her album #4 on the “Best Albums of 2017.” NPR’s jazz critic’s poll awarded Fly or Die best debut of 2017 and NPR music cited Fly or Die in the top 50 albums of 2017 (#47) calling it “both a fully formed statement and a bolt out of the blue.”

The album was also featured on Bandcamp Daily, WIRE, Jazztimes, the Los Angeles Times, and more. Rolling Stone named Branch in the June 2017 article “10 New Artists You Need to Know,” saying: “[Fly or Die] Sounds like Art Ensemble of Chicago jamming at an art punk loft.” This coming October will see the release of FLY or DIE II: bird dogs of paradise, recorded (mostly) in studio at Total Refreshment Centre and live at Café OTO in London, UK at the end of Fly or Die’s first major European tour. Bird dogs of paradise is the result of branch pushing her distinct style of progressive composition to new heights — while also stepping forward as a vocalist for the first time.

Fly or Die is: Lester St. Louis (b. 1993) – cello, percussion Jason Ajemian (b. 1976) – double bass, percussion, vocals Chad Taylor (b. 1973) – drums, mbira Lester St. Louis is a young cello phenom hailing from Queens, NY. An autodidact, St. Louis did not begin playing the cello until he was 16 years old and quickly learned that he had perfect pitch. 

Past Recipients