jamie branch, the New York-via-Chicago avant-garde jazz composer and trumpeter, has died. The label International Anthem announced the news on Twitter, writing: “At 9:21 pm on Monday, August 22, composer and trumpeter jaimie branch passed away in her home in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Her family, friends and community are heart broken.” She was 39.
Born in Huntington, Long Island and raised in Wilmette, Illinois, branch began playing trumpet when she was nine. After earning her undergraduate degree at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studied under the likes of John McNeil, Joe Morris, and Steve Lacy, branch returned to Chicago and started performing with artists such as Keefe Jackson, Jason Ajemian, and Tim Daisy. She spent two years at Baltimore’s Towson University before moving to New York in 2015, releasing her first solo album, Fly or Die, in 2017. Two years later, she followed it up with Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise and collaborated with flutist Anne La Berge and violist Ig Henneman on the album Dropping Stuff and Other Folk Songs. Another Fly or Die record, FLY or DIE LIVE, arrived in 2021.
Earlier this year, branch’s project with drummer Jason Nazary, Anteloper, released a new album called Pink Dolphins. She also contributed to the debut LP by Eli Winter, which came out last week. In addition to her work as a solo artist, brach has appeared alongside indie rock groups including TV on the Radio, Spoon, Belle Orchestre, Local H, and Atlas Moth.
“jaimie was a daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend and teacher; she touched countless numbers of people with her music and spirit, both of which are fearless, truthful and beautiful, and will live on in hearts and ears forever,” International Anthem’s statement continued. “jaimie’s family asks not just for your thoughts and prayers but also for your action. Show your love and support for your family and friends and anyone who may be in need — just like jaimie did for all of us.”
jaimie was a daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend and teacher; she touched countless numbers of people with her music and spirit, both of which are fearless, truthful and beautiful, and will live on in hearts and ears forever.
— International Anthem (@intlanthem) August 23, 2022