Jaimie Branch – Fly or Die

jaimiebranchflyBefore electronic, rap, and pop, there was jazz. It was a beautiful time in the 1920s (despite the dentistry, medicine, and lack of sexual protection … so many fucking kids). Then, more suddenly than predicted, Jazz went into a coma. People just didn’t care anymore. The only person sending flowers for quite some time was Kenny G, and he made sure to add extra bees to each bouquet (But, why Kenny?! And where do you keep buying bees?). Then, years later, the heart monitor began to beep. And, deep within a bee-filled room, Jazz opened up its eyes and took in a sharp gasp of cold breath. People cared again, people were listening. Jazz stood up and opened a window (most likely to let out all those fucking bees) and looked out onto the horizon. There, Jazz saw them. Thousands of bright pants and thick glasses, hats and other ironic clothing. They were coffee and nicotine stained, and a cloud of skunky smelling marijuana covered their tracks. Shocked, Jazz thought to itself, “But it can’t be. My followers, are they still alive?” Yes, they were. But it wasn’t the jazz age that Jazz was looking at, it was fucking hipsters. It’s 2018 everyone, and by fuck, can one of those motherfuckers blow a horn.

Wanna know what the fuck is going on with kids and jazz now of days? This. This is what the fuck is happening. 

Jaimie Branch is a ghost-like trumpeter that has worked with people like William Parker, Matana Roberts, TV on the Radio, and Spoon. This is her first record as the frontman. The record is 35 min. So, it gives you plenty of time to listen, then to wack off to the insane amount of free porn on the internet (it won’t last forever, but for now, weeeeeee!). Or, if you’re really scrapped for time today, you could do both at once. With no lyrics to get in your way, why not? (weeeeee! huh? meh. whatever. weeeeee!).

This isn’t what I’ve heard referred to as “jazz jazz”. It’s not that shit that prides itself on leaving the audience behind. The first 4 songs are there to keep you happy, upbeat, and dancing. The rest of the album is there to keep you coming back. Theme 001, Theme 002, and Theme Nothing (songs 2, 4, and 9) are funky and fun mashups. The songs in between mesh them together. In other words, the other songs mesh up the mashups (Jazz, Motherfucker!).

Leaves of Grass to Waltzer, 3 songs in total, remain abstract yet calm and dissonant, similar to Miles Davis’s “Sketches of Spain” if you took out the annoying orchestra. It reminds me of the first time I heard “Bitches Brew”. But, this is not a copy of that album, not by any means: it stands on its own right. There are many moments where your eyebrows will rise and you’ll succinctly ask, “what the fuck?!” Then, in the next second, the band will come together and you’ll understand. You’re in safe hands with Jaimie. Trust her. She’s got chops and intellect. 

If you’re not a jazz head, don’t worry, this can work as a good intro. If you’re a jazz pro, then you should feel obligated to listen. If jazz just isn’t your thing, then thanks for putting one of the most beautiful arts into a coma and filling that room with bees. You wanna know where all the bees went and why our planet is going to shit. They’re back in Jazz’s room because you don’t listen. Great job. You’re destroying our planet by not listening to beautiful music. 

 

 

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