1

Bonsai: Bonsai Club

Roger Farbey By

Sign in to view read count
Bonsai, under their previous moniker Jam Experiment, released one eponymous and extremely good, self-produced CD in 2017. In their new incarnation, they have replaced saxophonist Alexander Bone with violinist / vocalist Dominic Ingham. (To avoid ambiguity, Dominic and trombonist brother Rory—winner of Rising Star in the 2017 British Jazz Awards—will be referred to as DI and RI in this review.)

Opening with "Bonsai Club," the vocals are the most noticeable aspect of the track. Efficient, but not spectacular, they are vaguely reminiscent of the studiously laid-back singing approach of Robert Wyatt, Hatfield and the North or, at a pinch, Hatfield's progenitor, Caravan. The angular, "The Crescent," with wordless vocals from DI, and a compulsive violin vamp, grabs the attention immediately with a strident trombone solo from RI and some equally exuberant vibraphone from Jonny Mansfield.

DI chants the vocals on the ethereal "Tin" in a limpid, high register, rendering it, to all intents and purposes, a prog song, albeit a commendably sophisticated one. The vocals on the languid "Quay," again very Hatfield-esque, comprise one single line ("We're all alone together, now") but are so low in the mix they're almost subliminal and used more as a soundscape "wash."

RI's resoundingly rumbustious trombone is a key component of "Itchy Knee," undoubtedly the album's apogee which is further enhanced by DI's impressively vibrato-less violin (it is surprisingly difficult for violinists not to employ vibrato, which can have a cloying effect if too freely used in jazz). The lively "BMJC" showcases a fluid, masterly violin solo from DI and "Hop -The Hip Replacement" features some excellent violin and trombone interplay. As a jazz fusion album, Bonsai Club succeeds on many levels and, most encouragingly, will introduce this quintet of talented musicians to a wider audience.

Track Listing: Bonsai Club; The Crescent; Tin; BMJC; Quay; Hop - The Hip Replacement; Itchy Knee; Bonsai Reprise.

Personnel: Rory Ingham: trombone; Dominic Ingham: violin, vocals; Toby Comeau: piano, Fender Rhodes, synthesizer; Joe Lee: bass, vocals, piano, synthesizer; Jonny Mansfield: drums, vibraphone, percussion, synthesizer.

Title: Bonsai Club | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Ubuntu Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Sep20Fri
Bonsai., Bonsai
The Blue Arrow
Glasgow, UK

Related Articles

Read Getz At The Gate Album Reviews
Getz At The Gate
By Chris May
June 19, 2019
Read Keep Talkin' Album Reviews
Keep Talkin'
By Dan McClenaghan
June 19, 2019
Read Night Owl Album Reviews
Night Owl
By Dan Bilawsky
June 19, 2019
Read Let's Play Album Reviews
Let's Play
By Don Phipps
June 19, 2019
Read Hidden Corners Album Reviews
Hidden Corners
By Dan McClenaghan
June 18, 2019
Read Special Album Reviews
Special
By Jakob Baekgaard
June 18, 2019
Read Land Of Real Men Album Reviews
Land Of Real Men
By Friedrich Kunzmann
June 18, 2019