Get The Blessing - Bristol Fashion

Get The Blessing made a big impact last year with its debut album and returns this month with another helping of genre-melting jazz rock, this time titled Bugs In Amber. Clive Deamer and Jim Barr might be better known for their work with Robert Plant and Portishead but, as the jazz world discovered with its debut, the pair, joined by jazzers Jake McMurchie and Pete Judge, are deadly serious about producing an identifiable group sound, grounded in their love of Ornette Coleman, the improvising ethic and an openness to other music picked up from the ecumenical attitude of their native Bristol’s music scene. Andy Robson was our man on the spot when the album was recorded

It’s been a crazy year or so for The Blessing. Well, they’re not The Blessing any more, for a start. As long as they were an anonymous bunch of upstarts from the wild west (not that they were ever really that), no one minded that they shared a name with a hairy rock band. But now they’re the august winners of last year’s BBC Jazz Album Of The Year award, they’ve found themselves re-branded as Get The Blessing.

They may have lost part of the ‘jazz’ heritage in the process – they took their original moniker from the Ornette Coleman song – but the band remain jovially surprised at the success of All Is Yes. Even Clive Deamer who has been through the industry prize wringer not once but twice as a Mercury winner with Portishead and Roni Size can’t suppress a chortle at how events have played out. But then Get The Blessing are a band who chortle plenty.

This is an extract from Jazzwise Issue #130 – to read the full article click here to subscribe and receive a limited edition jazz photograph...

Andy Sheppard - Five Alive

Andy Sheppard, with his debut album as a leader on ECM, featuring his new international five-piece group, Movements in Colour, is a turning point in the career of the saxophonist who first came to notice back in the 1980s when jazz was briefly undergoing a mini-boom. His first record in some years the record also marks a subtle change in Sheppard’s style, incorporating Indo-jazz and Eurojazz nuances which allows him to explore areas of interest in his music that he has been developing since his last albums for the Provocateur label. Duncan Heining talks to Sheppard about his hopes for the group and looks back with him on the highs and lows of his career so far.

Branford Marsalis - Changing Man

The Branford Marsalis Quartet is one of the longest-running most influential jazz groups on the scene today and more important than just longevity, continues to evolve its music, refusing to settle into a comfortable orthodox. The notion of change and challenging audiences is very much to the fore on the new album Metamorphosen and it’s something Branford Marsalis talks to Stuart Nicholson about ahead of dates at the Bath festival and Ronnie Scott’s in May.

Bill Bruford - Bowing Out

Bill Bruford surprised us all earlier in the year by announcing his intention to retire from active performance. Given that he’s only 60 next month, and by no means an ancient seer and in recent years an active bandleader and mentor to a new generation of jazz musicians the news will come as a disappointment to his many fans and those who have charted his playing back to the far distant days of the early years of Yes. Andy Robson talks to Bill about his reasons for this life change as Bill’s new autobiography hits the shelves.


It’s gifted to few, whatever their profession, to quit at the top of their game. For every Nasser Hussein, leaving Test cricket with a match winning ton, there’s a score of Muhammad Alis or Paul Gascoignes going one bout too far or tragically spiralling down the leagues as their talents decline in public view.

Bill Bruford would smile at the sporting similes. His preferred analogy, as pointed out in his own erudite autobiography, is with Max Roach. Roach was a boyhood hero for Bruford, the epitome of all that summed up the art of percussion. Elegant, effortless, economical. That description did for Roach and it was what Bruford aspired to. But fast forward through the decades and Bruford heard the master just before his death and “there was daylight” between Roach and his bassist. “How the mighty are fallen”, thought the now mature Bruford who perhaps caught a vision of his own potential decline and fall.

Yet there are always exceptions. Bruford himself recognises the genius of Roy Haynes, whom he saw perform as an 83-year-old and was still “the music”.

This is an extract from Jazzwise Issue #129 – to read the full article click here to subscribe and receive a FREE CD

Ravi Coltrane - Gold Blend

It’s a mature Ravi Coltrane that appears impressively on new album Blending Times. Recorded not long after the death of his mother Alice Coltrane, Ravi talks to Stuart Nicholson about his own approach often only seen within the prism of his father’s legacy. It’s a path that began with early on-the-road explorations with Elvin Jones and Steve Coleman coalescing into his early records for RCA and more recent work with Saxophone Summit.

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