Nov 27 2015
The Get the Blessing quartet is back with a solid follow-up to their breakout 2014 release Lope and Antilope, one of the very best things released that year. What really jelled for them on their previous recordings was how they dove head-first into each melody in ways they hadn’t done previously, while managing to incorporate their talent for thick, delightful grooves that could dance in the small space of the slightest nuance. Astronautilus sees the quartet leading out again with the grooves, but this time around the melodies shine brightly from within rather than light the path. It’s an interesting twist to a similar story, and the result is more than a little bit fun.
“Phaenomena” grumbles and grinds, and Pete Judge peppers the song with bursts of melodic intent, whereas the melody of “Carapace” wavers and wobbles to the undercurrent of a pulsing rhythm. The get up and dance of “Monkfish” gives saxophonist Jake Mcmurchie the floor space to let loose with some bunches of punches before settling back into the prevailing groove. The long sigh of “Conch” is a reprieve from the perpetual motion, and the quartet stretches their legs with layers of electronic effects to accompany the string of solos. On the other hand, “Cornish Native” takes the same approach but hits the other extreme with a fiery conflagration of heat and harmony. Drummer Clive Deamer provides the rocket fuel, fans the flames.
Bassist Jim Barr establishes a loping cadence on “Nautilus,” and the result is a nice mix of patience and fury for the melodic delivery. “Green Herring” is ridiculously catchy, and no track better exemplifies the sense of fun exhibited by the recording. With its richly expressive melody and snaking rhythm, “Hayk” is the most immediate throw-back to Lope and Antilope, and it makes for a nice bit of compare and contrast to the current spot on the map of their creative development.
The album ends with the oddball track “Sepia.” The song is everything that came before it, but stripped of the elastic melodies, the thick grooves and the harmonies that phase in and out of synchronicity. There isn’t a lot to the song, at least in comparison to everything that preceded it. But there’s something to be said about waving goodbye to a hyperactive, engrossing album with a song that is the equivalent of a lighthouse on a foggy night, its horn calling out plaintively across the harbor’s length. A little tranquility to bring the listener back to ground.
When it’s all said and done, Get the Blessing is becoming an increasingly essential landmark when mapping out the modern jazz scene.
Your album personnel: Jake Mcmurchie (tenor & baritone saxes, electronics), Pete Judge (trumpet, flugelhorn, piano, electronics), Clive Deamer (drums, percussion) and Jim Barr (bass, bass VI, organ, electronics).
Released on Naim Jazz.
Jazz from the UK.
Listen to more track at the artist’s Bandcamp page.