October 16, 2021

Get The Blessing – Astronautilus

NAIM JAZZ RECORDS    18 Sept 2015

Jazz, eh? What is it? The big bands of Duke Ellington? The cool of 50s Miles? The burning funk of mid-seventies Miles? Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five? Jamie Callum? I dunno. Naim Records does a pretty good job of releasing some of the cooler modern sounds, of which Get The Blessing are one. Not only pretty cool, they are pretty interesting and this isn’t easy background like the output of Jazz FM.

This is exciting and playful – full of fun with a lively sense of the possible and the out of the ordinary. Blending a range of horn sounds (especially the sax and the flugelhorn) with roaming and pushing drum patterns, there is a wave-like rolling pattern to some of these pieces and a surfing rush here and there. Commonly, bass and drums will set up a steady pattern for horns to noodle over, melodies to repeat. Then again, the piece may be based on a crunching electronic rumble or a repeated stab on the horn. Electronics are used organically; textured instruments that fit the whole. Now and again, the rhythm section will assert themselves mid-tune and force things up a notch. Some pieces are chilled, some, like Monkfish, are punchy and quirky, like a jazzy Frank Zappa. Recorded by a Cornish beach, the influence is obvious. Crazy jazz masters that they are, they have named each of the tunes after a sea creature or something related. They are silly people, too – my download came un-numbered so the tracks all played in alphabetical order. Perhaps there was a particular flow to the album but I can tell you it works randomly too.

Get The Blessing have dedicated the album to Ornette Coleman, the ‘inventor’ of free jazz, which of course, this isn’t, but the spirit of invention and open-hearted exploration is here – particularly in the open-ended nature of the pieces, that feel they have sprung from jam sessions. If you like the modern sounds of bands like the Neil Cowley Trio or Portico, you’ll like this.