Sunday, August 02, 2009

Get the Blessing - Bugs in Amber (Candid, 2009)

Get the Blessing is another of the enthusiastic crop of English jazz bands that wed the excitement and dynamic volume of rock ‘n’ roll to the intricate improvisation of jazz. Like their colleagues in the groups Led Bib and Acoustic Ladyland, they manage this juggling act successfully, letting neither ingredient overwhelm their music as a whole. The group consists of Jake McMurchie on tenor saxophone, Pete Judge on trumpet, Jim Barr on bass and Clive Deamer on drums. The group hits hard right off the bat with a sampled police siren announcing the beginning of the opening track, the cheekily titled “Music Style Product.” The horns punch like boxers over the massive bass and drum foundation before shifting to a section of changing dynamics. “The Unnamable” starts with an ominous bass and drum groove before the horns slowly move in and take things to a higher energy level. This track builds in volume and dynamic slowly, showing that the musicians have the patience to develop a theme and make it work for them. The title track “Bugs in Amber” takes a slinky groove from the start and weaves that into a memorable performance. The highpoint of the album for me was the wonderfully titled “Einstein Action Figures” with it’s neat drum groove, hinting at a second line beat and the booting tenor saxophone which seemingly dares listeners not to dance. This was a fun and interesting album, indicative of the progressive jazz scene that is going on in England in the moment. The Brits don’t seem to be burdened with the baggage that Americans have tears them between tradition and experimentation. Along with their colleagues in the Scandinavian countries they feel free to experiment with form and genre with a large degree of freedom.
Bugs in Amber -

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