At least two of us had come hot foot from the degree show at Glasgow School of Art, appropriately.

What better to follow bold student visions than challenging student improvisation from three groups, one from each year currently studying under Professor Tommy Smith at the Royal Conservatoire?

Having headlined the previous evening at Edinburgh's Jazz Bar, the seniors performed first. A quartet led by bassist Brodie Jarvie, with the similarly familiar John Lowrie on drums and a twin sax front line of Andy Baker and Mikey Butcher, they shared the writing credits around, but were at their best on Donny McCaslin's Festival in 3 Parts, a rare up-tempo tune in an evening rather too devoted to ballads. Where they showed their experience was in the structure of their soloing, with Baker in particular playing with much more assurance since last I heard him.

Martin Fell's brash alto sound in the first year band could not have been more of a contrast to the mellow playing of Baker and Butcher. Band leader Tim Quicke apparently instructed him to "go mad" at the end of his own trumpet feature, which was not really to the benefit of an atmospheric slice of Lebanese jazz that boasted the most captivating melody of the night.

The horns combined better on bassist David Bowden's closing bop tune, which featured a fine solo by "guest" pianist Utsav Lal.

Lal was also on top form in the second year group. His playing recalls that of the SNJO's Steve Hamilton (there may be a teaching link there, I suppose) and was always assured. Bassist Jay Kilbride led the quartet, which sounded most like an established combo.