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Saturday, March 05, 2016

Jam Experiment @ The Jazz Café. March 4

Rory Ingham (trombone), Alexander Bone (alto saxophone), Toby Comeau (keyboards), Joe Lee (bass) & Jonathan Mansfield (drums)
(Review by Russell/Photo courtesy of Mike Tilley).
Many years ago Jimmy Knepper visited Newcastle. Inexplicably few turned out to hear the great man. Last night at the Jazz Café few turned out to hear a talented home-grown quintet. The Jam Experiment arrived from London, taking time out from their studies to play the first in a run of three gigs ‘up north’. Pink Lane regulars were largely absent. A hoped-for student crowd failed to show.
The Jam Experiment horns played it acoustically, their band mates – keyboards, electric bass and drums – sat behind them. Rory Ingham (trombone), Alexander Bone (alto) and pianist Toby Comeau, the principal writers in the band, put their material up for scrutiny against classic material and compositions from household names. A Mike Walker tune, a John Taylor number, All the Things You Are, then their own charts (Toby Comeau’s first set contributions Last Decade and Off on a Rant, Ingham’s Enough for Me, Bone’s First Day, Spider and It’s You). The Jam Experiment’s tunes compared favourably, more than.
The hallmark of the quintet is the group dynamic – succinct solos, a welcome absence of grandstanding, ‘attitude’ left at the door. Five easy going individuals and, key, talent one sees – and hears – all too rarely. Musicianship of the highest standard, so high it appeared they weren’t trying! Ingham’s sound is fully formed, assured. Bone has total command of his instrument. Pianist Comeau has been known to watch the sunrise writing new material – these young men are going places!
The most recent addition to the band – five string bassist Joe Lee – was on the case right from the off with a great sound and sense of time. Talking of timing, Jonathan Mansfield had it to spare. The obligatory drum solo…not really, no need. The Jam Experiment more than made a good impression. They’ll be back. Catch the band tonight (Saturday 5) at the Traveller’s Rest on West Auckland Road in Darlington (a homecoming for altoist Bone) and on Sunday playing a Seven Arts gig in Leeds. An album is in the offing. When it sees the light of day, don’t hesitate, bag yourself a collector’s item.       
Russell.                           

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