Parr Jazz are breaking with the mould of their weekly Tuesday live music programme and popular jam sessions at Studio2. It’s not without reason. Tonight they welcome Bristolian quartet GET THE BLESSING to the former recording studio on Parr Street.
Early arrivals assemble between the live space and the bar, located in the old control room, which has kept its original features, including the studio viewing window. The scene is set by a Parr Jazz resident vinyl only DJ session by Liverpool-based selectors Elliot Hutchinson and Tobias Bode. The duo spin some delightful sounds across Brazilian jazz, Italian library and classic hip hop ready samples.
Get The Blessing take to the stage in their renowned matching suits and are welcomed by an eager audience. It doesn’t take long for the foot stomping and head bopping to start. Get The Blessing harness jazz and rock effortlessly, seamlessly stitching styles and tempos through their sets. The majority of tracks being performed feature on their latest studio album, Bristopia, alongside some “not so golden oldies”, as guitarist and frontman Jim Barr explains.
The band dynamic and understanding of each other is noticeable. It’s not surprising. Get The Blessing formed in 1999 when Jim Barr and Clive Deamer (Portishead’s rhythm section) teamed up with Jake McMurchie and Pete Judge over their mutal appreciation for jazz, Ornette Coleman in particular. It’s a musical understanding that verges on symbiotic.
The early stages of the set include If It Can It Will, Not With Standing and Recorded For Training And Quality Purposes. As we scurry towards the second half the set steps up with renditions of Cellophant, Sunwise and The Second Third. Get The Blessing’s experimental nature is prominent but never overbearing as they demonstrate the band’s collective musicianship as each track unfolds. One track sees drummer Clive Deamer start with only his hands on the drums before gradually progressing to drum sticks and maraca, while saxophonist Jake McMurchie plays a track with just the instrument’s mouth pipe. The showman shop serves to add an extra depth to the band’s already daring sounds.
Jim Barr’s impromptu announcements between tracks are well received by the audience. He explains the notions behind some of the tracks, humorous sidenotes and even includes a member of the crowd. This leaves the band in a laughing fit. Get The Blessing’s ease at taking risks live on stage is infectious and makes the quartet a must-watch live band.