Trumpeter Jaimie Branch is only 24, so I think it’s more than reasonable to say she’s still figuring out her music. Yet while I’m fairly confident she’ll produce something important in the future, she’s already got skills—big time. A 2005 graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, she’s an active presence around town, working regularly with Keefe Jackson’s Project Project, the New Fracture Quartet, Flytrap, and Sherpa, as well as her own trio, Princess, Princess, with bassist Toby Summerfield and drummer Frank Rosaly.
Princess, Princess played last month in New York at the Festival of New Trumpet Music, an event started by Dave Douglas a few years back and an ideal showcase for Branch’s talent. Too often the trio exhibits inertia—a common enough dilemma in free improvisation—with Rosaly getting hung up on texture, Summerfield seemingly at sea, and no one pushing the music forward. But it’s always hard to miss Branch’s sheer potential. She’s got a strong, malleable tone and in this free setting she nevertheless betrays a vast postbop vocabulary; she can also draw on a wide array of the instrument’s more abstract extended techniques. On one live recording I’ve heard she nails the car-engine-turning-over trick that Axel Dörner pioneered. I usually hesitate to proffer recommendations based on potential, but I’d wager good money that Branch will be making serious waves before long.
Princess, Princess plays tomorrow night, October 24, at the Hideout, sharing the bill with the intriguing trio of saxophonist Greg Ward, bassist Jason Roebke, and passing-through-town cornetist Rob Mazurek.
Andrew Hill, Pax (Blue Note)
Imitation Electric Piano, Imitation Electric Piano (Drag City)
Chucho Valdes & His Combo, The Complete 1964 Sessions (Malanga Music)
Jorge Mautner, Revirão (Warner Music Brasil)
Sound Dimension, Jamaica Soul Shake Vol. 1 (Soul Jazz)