Over a relatively short career, the adventurous composer and trumpeter Jaimie Branch has developed a mature and singular style with a politically informed dimension. On her second album as leader, she and her band create tense atmospheres that brim with creativity and spontaneity.
The two part "Prayer For Amerikkka" opens with bassist Jason Ajemian's dark, reverberating thumps. These set an expectant mood that drummer Chad Taylor enhances. Branch blows longing, melancholic notes that rise and fall over the percolating cadence. Alternating between trumpet and spoken words, she engages with performance artists Marvin Tate and Ben LaMar Gay in a vocal call and response that condemns modern racism. Cellist Lester St Louis and guitarist Matt Schneider add sonic swirls to the rumbling backdrop.
An even more cinematic piece is the collectively composed title track. St. Louis and Ajemian contribute angst-filled lines while Taylor's thundering polyrhythms add a primal spirituality to the performance. Percussion and synthesizer effects create a riotous and stirring atmosphere. Synth heavy, percussive, hypnotic vamps start off the intriguing "Nuevo Roquero Estéreo" featuring multi-instrumentalist Dan Bitney. Branch blows burnished high notes while maintaining a Latin motif. Rousing ensemble play takes unexpected twists and turns.
Branch is an intrepid innovator with superb musicianship and real synergy with her sidemen. This album confirms her as a rising star on the creative music scene.
Birds of Paradise; Prayer for Amerikkka Pt. 1 & 2; Lesterlude; Twenty-three N Me, Jupiter Redux; Whales; Simple Silver Surfer; Bird Dogs of Paradise; Nuevo Roquero Estéreo; Love Song.
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