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Full Focus

Dominic Ingham
Role Models

from the album Role Models


'Full Focus' is a series where musicians and others discuss a jazz track or tracks in detail. The idea is that you are able to listen to the track as you read about it. If you have a track on an album that you have recently released where you might like to share the ideas behind it and talk about how it developed - please contact us.


Dominic Ingham Role Models


Dominic Ingham started playing the violin when he was five. His focus then was on classical and folk music and his early playing was based on the Suzuki method. Shin'ichi Suzuki in Japan pioneered the idea that preschool age children could learn to play the violin if the learning steps were small enough and the instrument was scaled down to fit their body. He is quoted as saying “I want to make good citizens. If a child hears fine music from the day of his birth and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance. He gets a beautiful heart.”

Here is a video comparing Suzuki and Traditional music learning. There are others on YouTube. Dominic's parents are familiar faces in the music scene, both playing saxophone professionally. Like Dominic, his father Richard has been involved in a wide range of musical styles and is Professor of Saxophone at both the University of St Andrews and the Unversity of Aberdeen.



Dominic went on to be named as Junior, Intermediate and Senior musician of the year at the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Wakefield and leader of Wakefield Youth Orchestra; he joined the National Youth Orchestra at fifteen and then went to the sixth form at Chetham's School of Music. From being a member of the Yorkshire Young Musicians Scheme based at the Leeds College of Music, Dominic enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London where he studied Jazz Violin while continuing to play classical violin as well. Dominic is also a vocalist and his music reflects the mix of his singing, jazz, folk and classical Dominic Inghambackground creating a distinctive persona.

Dominic has continued to play in a wide range of musical settings, including the five piece collective Bonsai, Jonny Mansfield’s Elftet, Camila Meza’s Nectar Orchestra and indie rock band Blaenavon. He has toured extensively across the UK and Europe, playing at prestigious venues and festivals such as Ronnie Scott's club, Love Supreme, Heaven, The Royal Albert Hall, The Barbican and EFG London Jazz Festival. He graduated from the Guildhall in 2019.

In June 2020, Dominic released his debut album Role Models which features Jonny Mansfield (vibraphone), David Swan (piano), Will Sach (bass) and Boz Martin-Jones (drums). The album artwork is by Dutch artist Claudia Hoejenbos. The title of the album acknowledges many of Dominic's role models. Of those who play with him he says: "“These musicians aren’t just my role models, they’re some of my closest friends who I’ll continue to play with for the rest of my life”, but he also pays tribute to American trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, saxophonist Walter Smith III and the Chilean guitarist and composer Camila Meza. As you will see from Dominic's article below, pianist Shai Maestro is another and there are many more.


As an introduction to the album, here is a video of the band playing the second track Fall. Note the use of the bass in the mix and here we can see Dominic's use of voice, and the textures created by the instruments in play here. The musicians, individually very talented, clearly interact perfectly.




The composition of Dominic’s band is unusual but very effective. You can listen to the tracks by clicking on the links. The album opens with the title track, Role Models, and Dominic will tell us about that in a moment. The mood lightens for track 3, Pj's , with drums and bass strongly supporting the tune and there's a light touch from David Swan's piano. We can hear how well Dominic's violin works with this ensemble. Phones has a separate, brief, fine piano Introduction track while Phones itself is more complex and showcases Dominic's violin skills. You need to listen to this track carefully to appreciate how well it has been mixed to capture the playing of all of the instruments. Daydreaming at track 6 slows things down, as you might expect from the title, with the melody and arrangement suiting the title well. There are one or two high notes from the vibes at 4.44 that somehow moved me. Bottles continues to be slow and gentle before it gathers pace. Here again, you can hear how the part of Will Sach's bass on this album is a significant feature, it is quite forward in the mix and adds much to the texture of the music, particularly when Boz Martin-Jones's bass drum comes into play too. Which brings us to the final track, Passport. Violin and vibes weave us into and through the track as the theme is developed, swells, and finally fades.

This quintet has a different and quite distinctive sound that is well worth experiencing, and the album will benefit from hearing it in an environment where you can appreciate the contribution of each musician and the approach that has been taken to the mix.


So - play the title track, Role Models, and read Dominic's decription of how the band approached it.




At the time of writing this piece I was listening a lot to Shai Maestro’s ‘The Dream Thief’ (ECM). In this album I was drawn to the combination of simple melodies and fast irregular time - you get this beauty and excitement. I wanted to try and explore that in my tune Role Models.

The solo piano section that you will hear at exactly 1:00, was the first theme to be written. It was written as a loop, meaning it works well when it’s repeated many times. I often like to start compositions by writing a loop, as it acts like a ‘miniature composition’, which you can then go on to develop. The pianist David Swan introduces this theme in such a way that it seems to say ‘hello’, and implies that we’ll definitely be hearing it more later on. 

I realised that I wanted this theme to act as a release, so I needed to write an introductory section where there was a sort of ongoing tension. This introductory section involves a quick 5/8 groove (irregular time signature) combined with a sustained soaring melody - both contribute to the tension that is present. On a side note, this first soaring melody is a good example of how the violin and vibraphone work well together as front line instruments - you have the attack of the vibraphone and the sustain of the violin (opposites attract!).

The first theme is reintroduced at 4:00 where David improvises with the melody and chords. I love this solo section as there’s so much freedom, and it’s beautifully different from how I had imagined it.

The final section is another loop, and gives way for a drum solo. Right at the end, the first theme appears again (high violin), but has been adapted so it can be played over the new sequence. This is the first time you hear the melody at the same time as the fast 5/8 groove, so there’s a feeling of unity here as the piece comes to an end.


Click here to sample and to purchase the album. Click here for Dominic's website.


Dominic Ingham Quintet



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Visit some of our other Full Focus pages:

The Tom Green Septet - Champagne Sky

Henry Spencer - The Reasons Don't Change
Dario Napoli - Masks
Mark Pringle - GMLN

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