Jam Experiment – Jam Experiment
(Self-released. CD review by Adrian Pallant)
It’s more than enough to make the heart sing – a quintet of young musicians, on the threshold of successful lifetime careers, presenting a jazz/funk/soul album of remarkable musicianship and expressive depth.
Jam Experiment is fronted by saxophonist Alexander Bone and trombonist Rory Ingham, and completed by keyboardist/pianist Toby Comeau, electric bassist Joe Lee and drummer/percussionist Jonny Mansfield. In 2014, the then 17-year-old Bone stepped into the spotlight as the inaugural winner of the BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year competition, going on to perform regularly at gigs and festivals (one highlight being 2015’s BBC Proms in the Park, with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales); and he’s already worked with a host of major artists including Nile Rodgers, Kylie Minogue, Dave Holland and Liane Carroll.
All five members are still studying, either at the Royal Academy of Music or the Guildhall School of Music & Drama; yet ‘early-twenties eponymous debut’ belies the strength and accomplishment of their partnership and, indeed, the confident writing to be found in these eight original numbers. One thing’s certain – this band knows how to groove, with assured sax and trombone riffs/improvisations underpinned by a cool pitch-bent electric piano sound, bubbling bass and syncopated percussion.
Smooth echoes of, say, David Sanborn or Bob James are discernible, but there’s something about this band’s own colorations and nuances which draw the attention. So the full-on vivacity of It’s You and Enough For Me, already brimming with tonal variety, is contrasted by the synthy dreaminess of Bone’s First Day as well as the piano-styled limpidity of Last Decade; and luscious, melodic You are the Vibe to my Hang possesses a joyous ’80s demeanour, its vocalised trombone and sax pairing channelling Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays.
Alexander Bone’s individual tenor delivery frequently suggests the sound world of Michael Brecker and, in Mansfield’s Chorale, even a hint of the steady fluency of Jan Garbarek. When he shares the footlights with Ingham’s trombone, in Comeau’s Off on a Rant, there’s sparky chemistry; and effervescent, melodic Get it on Target celebrates the band’s synergy with sunshiny, commercial appeal.
Jam Experiment is ‘feel good’, accessible, intelligently crafted… and irresistible.
Adrian Pallant is a proofreader, musician and jazz writer who also reviews at his own site ap-reviews.com