COMPOSERS: Jake McMurchie,Pete Judge
PERFORMER: The Blessing – Pete Judge (trumpet), Jake McMurchie (saxophone), Jim Barr (bass), Clive Deamer (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: Candid CCD 79851
The Blessing is, I believe, big in Bristol, but deserves to be celebrated more widely. They make a gloriously powerful sound for a quartet, even when not cheating with a little overdubbing to fatten the ensembles.
Clive Deamer and Jim Barr (above), perhaps best known as members of excellent trip-hoppers Portishead, import their crisp sound and add an extra edge for this band.
All Is Yes reminds me strongly of two of my favourite fringe-jazz outfits of the late-’80s/early-’90s, Dr Umezu and Xero Slingsby & The Works.
If there’s nothing experimental or innovative here, they still sound fresher than most bands around, and less contrived than critical faves like the Bad Plus or Acoustic Ladyland.
The tunes, mostly simple but potent, are arrestingly realised by Pete Judge and Jake McMurchie. Funk, Ornette Coleman-inspired free-jazz, punk and a dash of the East add spice without muddying the flavour, earning a five-star benediction for sheer exuberance.