Jaimie Branch

w/ Pie Eyed Collective
Jazz Cafe – November 2021

I can’t stress how excited I was about this gig. It was to be my first after the covid pandemic and it was going to be Jaimie Branch – one of the most exciting modern jazz trumpeters fusing punk ethos with her craft. I’d been swept away with her albums, Fly or Die and Fly or Die II: bird dogs of paradise and the subsequent Fly or Die LIVE album that followed them. This was an artist starting to peak, creating music from the heart full of awe and wonder. This gig was going to be amazing.

And it was.

Set in the cosy Jazz Cafe, I and friend Gingersteve made it to Gopal’s Corner at Market Halls Victoria for a pre-gig laksa which was a new culinary experience for him of which got the thumbs up of approval. As we walked into the venue you could hear the buzz – we were out in a venue at a gig with real people, pushing and squeezing past each other. When we arrived the very shy Pie Eyed Collective was performing some low key electronic vibes. It was a nice way to start the evening but I’m always perplexed why musicians never say who they are when on or leaving the stage.

By the time Jaimie took the stage the venue was full and pulsing. Her quartet consisting of drums, bass, cello accompanying her trumpet was sublime. There’s something quite magical when you’re looking around thinking where is that sound coming from? Is it her trumpet running through one of the many pedals she had hooked up to it or was it the harmonics of all the musicians instruments working together taking it to a higher plain. Whatever it was it worked. The evening went from raw groove of numbers like theme nothing and prayer for amerikkka pt. 1 & 2. to some more astral soundscapes that I have no idea the name of, perhaps it was birds of paradise? No bother, Jaimie and her group were amazing and we left the gig pie-eyed in awe and sheer delight.

Some 10 months later, Jaimie died. She was 39. So sad this gifted soul has gone. I feel so blessed to have seen her live and experienced her fearless spirit. As usual, I took some pictures at the gig. None of the ones of Jaimie really turned out so I trashed them. There was an artist at the side of the stage, Dora Lam, who was painting while Jaimie played, that image has become part of my lasting image of her and her music.

Vale Jaimie. Rest in Power.

Live painting of Jaimie Branch at Jazz Cafe by Dora Lam
Live painting of Jaimie Branch at Jazz Cafe by Dora Lam
Pie Eyed Collective supporting Jaimie Branch at Jazz Cafe
Pie Eyed Collective supporting Jaimie Branch at Jazz Cafe
Gopal's Corner laksa
Gopal’s Corner laksa