Pete Judge (trumpet)
Jake McMurchie (saxophones)
Jim Barr (bass)
Clive Deamer (drums)
You know you’ve been to a good gig when you wake up the next morning with one of the tunes still playing in your head. And I have to say, there are far worse things to wake up to than Get The Blessing’s Einstein Action Figure after a fairly riotous set at Barcelona’s Jamboree.
I like GTB. Their albums bounce and crackle with clever unpredictability and are a welcome contrast (some might say antidote) to the dissonant and atonal fare that I usually enjoy. It’s impossible to sit still while listening to a Get The Blessing tune and new Cornwall concept album “Astronautilus” is no exception. However, I’d not seen them live before.
Deamer’s drumming is frenetic, managing a constant quirkiness, practically dancing around the kit without ever losing rhythmic accessibility – or to put it slightly more plainly, he’s doing all kinds of odd stuff but your foot never stops tapping. Judge and McMurchie provide the colouring, great washes of electronically-enhanced sound, clever extemporisation and sharp punctuation. And at the centre is Barr’s bass (or at times, Fender Bass VI hybrid) anchoring each tune with overdriven riffing and at times, some very free, even avant, soloing.
The set list included tracks from all five albums. As well as the wake-up call of Einstein Action Figure, we had a handful from the new album, including Monkfish, Cornish Native and Conch, as well as the more established tunes such as That Ain’t It, and the audience participation clapathon, OCDC. Each tune retained its hallmarks but full advantage was taken of the live setting to stretch and twist here and there and generally ramp up the impact (no mean feat considering the punch carried by the average GTB album track).
Get The Blessing are often labelled ‘punk-jazz’ and they’re certainly not remotely hidebound by the dreaded ‘jazz tradition’ (whatever that might be) but this particular brand of punk is rather refined, elegant, self-deprecating and dryly humorous.
Which brings us to the non-musical element without which no GTB gig would be complete, Jim Barr’s deadpan, surrealistic introductions. Sprinkled with Spanglish, we had stories of Albert Einstein’s first words, a hapless London drummer auditioning for Miles Davis, a pair of piscine shoes, and a seashell in which one can hear the entire Concierto de Aranjuez.
This was the evening’s second set and afterwards, Clive Deamer described it as being infused with a kind of “invasive creativity”. On reflection, I’m not really sure what that means but strangely, it does sum up the energy that was radiating from the stage in Barcelona’s famous cellar jazz club.
(Experience Astronautilus yourself via Get the Blessing’s bandcamp page.)