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I'll Be There
About Us Plunky

J. Plunky Branch Bio 2023


Music critics have hailed legendary saxophonist James “Plunky” Branch as an essential part of the “vanguard of Afro-centric jazz, funk, house music, and go-go.” Over the span of 40+ years, he has independently maintained a successful career of creating music, with over 25 albums. His group Plunky & Oneness has performed alongside some of the biggest names in Black music, including Patti LaBelle, Ray Charles, Frankie Beverly, Maze, and Chuck Brown along with notable musicians ranging from Pharoah Sanders, Ornette Coleman, and Gil Scott Heron. His international fan base has given him the opportunity to perform in front of audiences all over Europe and Africa, and he has enthusiasts for his music from the U.S. to Japan. Plunky’s music has stood the test of time and has earned him the status of living music legend. Plunky is a two-time recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Fellowship. As a Virginia native, Plunky is an avid supporter of the arts, as well as an educator and lecturer performing and presenting at numerous public schools and universities. He’s taught African American music at Virginia Commonwealth University and directed the Virginia Union University Jazz Ensemble. As the CEO of Black Fire Records and NAME Brand Records, his immense catalog has been sampled by hip-hop luminaries including J Cole, KRS One, Big Pun and J Dilla and featured by The Roots band live on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

In August 2019, Plunky & Oneness released the album Afroclectic, a “sonic offering of Afro inspired music made to move the body and soul.” According to a press release, the album is a positive experience that celebrates the diversity of Black culture, paying tribute to Fela Kuti, Miles Davis, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Plunky’s career inspires us to keep pushing forward, reminding us to acknowledge and embrace our roots. His music has inspired many around the world to keep on dancing and to spread love wherever they go. 

In 2022, Plunky co-produced the documentary film “Black Fire – Radio Rhythms & Revolution;” and in July 2023 he released a new reggae-drill single and video, Plunky & Oneness - “I’ll Be There.”

“Black music, our music, has always been about telling our story and inspiring us to keep on keeping on. Our beats, words, and melodies can produce instantaneous pleasure and a profound vision of future possibilities. While the business of music has become a very complex enterprise, for me, it’s still about presenting rhythms, energy, improvisations, and songs in service to our community. Our music fuels our mythology and magic, and it impacts the whole world.” — J. “Plunky” Branch

Plunky Also On
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