on 7 October 2009
This record is quite stunning. Superb musicianship, wonderful and sensitive production (as is the usual from Jason Yarde) - Empirical have got to be one of the most exciting bands around.
Despite a few personnel changes, this new line up (with the wonderful Julian "Wiggy" Seigel on tenor joining in), is proving to be near perfect. Nat Facey's alto working really nicely with Lewis's sensitive vibes playing who has a really great, round sound (vibes is the perfect addition to the lineup), the album sounds fresh, clear and inventive. Cracking drumming from Shaney Forbes (a guy who is an amazing drummer across all genres!) and the fab Tom Farmer on bass.
Go buy it and see them live too!
This, the second Empirical album was recorded with the new line-up in 2009 (although this information is not on the sleeve nor insert). Empirical were now a quartet. The line up on this album is: Nathaniel Facey (alto), Lewis Wright (vibes), Tom Farmer (bass) and Shaney Forbes (drums) and guesting on some tracks, Julian Siegel (bass clarinet / tenor).
The album is dedicated to the memory of Eric Dolphy who died at a young age in 1964 as an undiagnosed diabetic and was one of the idols of the "modern jazz" era. There are just two tunes written by Dolphy (two items from "Out To Lunch) otherwise the tunes are from Tom Farmer and Nathaniel Facey. There are two "conversations" credited to Facey and Siegel.
The music is very reminiscent of the music on Dolphy's seminal album "Out To Lunch" (that was not entirely typical of Dolphy's output) possibly because that album featured the vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, of whom I associate Lewis Wright being a disciple of. I first saw Lewis when he was about fifteen years old, although I know that he was gigging at a younger age when he had to stand on a box to reach the keyboard! It has been a pleasure to watch him mature into the fine vibes player that he is today.
The music of Dolphy is difficult for both the musician and listener, so to produce an album of this quality is to be thoroughly congratulated.
on 28 April 2010
I was lucky enough to see Empirical perform at Oxford's "The Spin", they were amazing and I really enjoyed their music and the ones they played by Eric Dolphy. I bought this album there and was lucky enough to get them all to sign it. They really deserve much success. Highly original, absolutely brilliant playing and sharply dressed too.