INGRID JENSEN x ENGINES ORCHESTRA | Ronnie Scott’s, London

Like the jaws of a Newcastle bridge that Ingrid Jensen observed earlier this week, so too this gig opened up to the packed audience at Ronnie Scott’s.

The first half was all about the quartet put together for Ingrid’s UK dates — compositions like ‘Dots and Braids’ providing the platform for her blend of raw horn playing combined with deftly deployed effects pedals. With Jez Franks on guitar, Andy (we are the) Champion(s) on bass and Dave Ingamells on drums, there was a pleasing transition between the swirling opening passages of numbers like ‘Centre Song’ and tributes duly paid to inspirations like Kenny Wheeler.

This evening was all about the spirit of collaboration. The music stands of Engines Orchestra had rested dormant on the righthand-side of the stage all evening, and there was a palpable buzz in the club as the collective ambled to their places during the interval. Here, Phil Meadow’s arrangements of Ingrid’s pieces came to the fore, as easily providing a sympathetic cacophony of strings or a trumpet dialogue in ‘Hope’s Trails’. Introducing his own composition — ‘Twice the Man’ — Phil explained the collaborative philosophy behind the orchestra. It was a nice moment of connection between conductor and audience, lived-out by Ingrid’s warmth and the seemingly organic meeting point between quartet and orchestra.

In a satiating moment of saving the best ’til last, the evening was rounded off by a rendition of the ‘At Sea Suite’, complete with Rob Hope’s Scrabble-vomit-replicating soprano clarinet solo (that’s a compliment). At sea? Anything but. Ingrid and Engines Orchestra rode the waves and took Ronnie’s with them.

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