We always liked punky jazz outfit Get The Blessing, as they played jazz with a beat more based on rock than jazz; by punk we mean that raucous brassy, slightly manic sound made famous by Pigbag.
Opener Phaenomena represents this sound down to T — throbbing bassline (it could be a synth), skittish but regular drumbeat, and trumpet that’s firstly atmospheric but then gets more manic.
Carapace is thoughtful, with the brass swirling around in circles while the bass and drums again lay down a metronomic rhythm. In parts this sounds like the music from a bleak Le Carré spy film, the hero walking down a lonely East German street.
Also atmospheric is Conch, a thoughtful, almost gloomy piece that tries to sound like the jazz you’d hear if you held a conch to your ear, probably very effective live.
Cornish Native opens with a hypnotic, almost industrial synth before laying down a beat over which the sax, when it appears, is a jazz intrusion. The title track is equally hypnotic and one of the most conventionally jazz sounding.
The rock feel to Get The Blessing comes from Jim Barr (bass) and Clive Deamer (drums), the rhythm section from Portishead. They’re gifted and adventurous musicians making music that’s possibly unique.
However, we failed to warm completely to this. Parts are excellent — that opening section to Cornish Native for example — but we found it hard to review. We look for the personality of the album to hang the review on, and this one comes over as a rather muscular geek and several sections, too many perhaps, sacrifice technical prowess and the desire to be edgy for soul. That reservation aside, it’s a strong album.