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The Melodies of a Branch

Format: LP



Availability: In stock

Albina Music Trust has served as a vital resource amplifying Portland’s musical past – most consistently through work with underrepresented soul musicians active in the 1950s-1990s. Another important element of the nonprofit’s work has been strengthening connections between these foundational artists and our current generation of regional musicians, especially those mentored by elders in the Albina musician community.

One such artist is drummer, composer, and educator Domo Branch. At twenty-three years old, Branch has come up through the ranks of the American Music Program – a crucial proving ground for Portland’s jazz musicians that includes Esperanza Spaulding and Charlie Brown III. Founded by Gangsters alum, Thara Memory, Branch received vital instruction through community-centered operations such as AMP and the Mel Brown Jazz Workshop. He now lives in Manhattan and performs with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra under the direction of Wynton Marsalis. He has since formed a bi-coastal group, Branchin’ Out.

The Melodies of a Branch is a solo drum recording made in Riga, Latvia. This rare session followed Branch’s 2022 performance at the city’s annual jazz festival. Performing in an intimate setting at Latvian Radio Recording Studios, Branch’s range of motion is now on full display in this exploration of the many nuances of a drum set.

The record also keys into the emotional value of the Black experience through music. Whether it be the evolution of drumming ranging from tribal to contemporary forms or the sheer capacity of melodic phrasing on the drums, the album is expressive, free, and spiritually sound. Through its spare, minimalist genesis into the polyrhythmic power and beauty of its conclusion, the work evidenced here is consistent with the many iterations of Branch’s work with other ensembles. Except now we get him to ourselves.

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