CD review

Dominic Ingham Quintet – “Role Models” 

Dominic Ingham Quintet – Role Models
(Ingham Records INGHAM01. CD Review by Lavender Sutton)

Dominic Ingham is probably best known as a member of the critically acclaimed jazz fusion band Bonsai but this young violinist and vocalist is embarking on a new musical journey of his own. Bonsai pride themselves in sharing the leadership within the group to allow for musical freedom and pushing boundaries but with the release of Role Models, Ingham takes the reins and his original compositions shine while still giving his colleagues an equal platform to highlight their considerable talents. 

He humbly accredits his “role models” as the main influencers in his musical progress. Both the people that he plays music with – the members of his band – and those that he’s been lucky to learn from – such as Chilean guitarist/vocalist Camila Meza – have guided his composition style and helped his music evolve into this new release.

His quintet is comprised of Scottish pianist David Swan, Will Sach on bass and Boz Martin-Jones on drums and features Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize winner Jonny Mansfield on vibraphone. The use of vibraphone paired with violin (and voice) creates numerous combinations of timbre that Ingham utilises beautifully in his writing. At times the music sounds full and warm, like in Fall, the only piece where Ingham sings. The vibes set up a melody that feels like it could carry on forever. Then the voice comes in in unison and again is reiterated with the violin later, like a theme and variations for the jazz listener.

At other times, the music holds weight in a different way. It’s powerful and funky, like in Pj’s where Martin-Jones sets up this undulating rhythm for Ingham’s violin part to stand out against. Sach’s bass solo builds melodically at first, but is also so rhythmic it’s like another entity all together. 

Phones has an alluring introduction played by Swan that highlights Ingham’s classical influences before it opens into an intense, persistent tempo where both Mansfield and Ingham are able to show off their impressive improvising chops. 

Dominic Ingham is the feature of this project for sure and he should be proud of how well his quintet collaborates. If these are his role models, then they’re doing a great job of lifting him up.

Role Models is released on 12 June.

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