Get The Blessing: Pallett

Get The Blessing show jazz and rock influence but elements of minimalism, trance and indie in their music mean they're not quite jazz-rock

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Get The Blessing were formed in 1999 by bassist Jim Barr and drummer Clive Deamer, both sometime members of the band Portishead. Recruiting saxophonist Jake McMurchie and trumpeter Pete Judge they started out under the name The Blessing, releasing two albums – Odd Numbers: The Blessing Live At The Bell Bath (Written On Water, 2004) and All Is Yes (Cake, 2008).

The first Get The Blessing album was released a year later, Bugs In Amber (Cake, 2009). The punningly titled Pallett is now the sixth album under their newer name. However, since their formation 25 years ago their line-up has remained the same, until now. For this most recent album they’ve recruited the assistance of guitarist Adrian Utley, founder member of Portishead. It should be noted that both Portishead and Get The Blessing hail from Bristol hence the title of GTB’s previous album Bristopia (Kartel, 2018).

Like Portishead, Get The Blessing is not an easy group to pigeonhole. They are clearly jazz-influenced, ostensibly by the music of Ornette Coleman. But to simply describe them as “jazz-rock” would be to do them an injustice as they convey elements of minimalism, trance, space rock, indie and fusion, often equally represented within each number. Other bands similarly difficult to define might include Acoustic Ladyland, Polar Bear, Led Bib and Let Spin. But in fairness none follow any common path.

The pulsating ostinato bass-line of Oscillation Ochre is consolidated by an echoey vamp from the horns and fleeting piano swirls. The repetitious horn parts of Heavy Water (French Grey) owe more to Steve Reich than jazz but Utley’s sporadic, reverberant guitar work on Dry Brush Blue drives this more reflective, slow-paced piece along. The stately dynamics of São Pedro Gold underpin McMurchie’s sultry tenor lines whereas the moody, lengthy Ambient Black is propelled by a burbling bass guitar. Small Star Of The Big Silver is a masterclass is dreamy ambience recalling early Gong interludes. The closer, Temperate Red, features Judge’s emotionally charged trumpet with an arrangement that neatly illustrates the concept of tension and release, manifesting within the final two minutes of the tune and ending in a ghostly lead-out.


Discography
Oscillation Ochre; Heavy Water (French Grey); Vongole Verdigris; Dry Brush Blue; São Pedro Gold; Ambient Black; Dude Indigo; Small Star Of The Big Silver; Temperate Red (41.04)
Pete Judge (t, p, vla); Jake McMurchie (ts, p); Adrian Utley (elg); Jim Barr (elb); Clive Deamer (d, v). Various (unspecified) locations, 2020-2021.
All Is Yes Records AIY002