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Bebop Spoken There

Orrin Evans: “I’d like to see a younger audience and an audience that looks more like me at the clubs.” – (Down Beat November 2014).

Kevin Flanagan: "Besides, I'd got sick of playing jazz to people who looked like my father." - (Straight No Chaser Issue 0ne Summer 1988.)

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Today Friday August 18

Afternoon
Rendezvous Jazz - The Black Horse, Front St., Monkseaton, Whitley Bay NE25 8DP. 1pm. Free.
Levee Ramblers New Orleans Quartet - Tynemouth Metro Station, Station Tce., Tynemouth NE30 4RE. 1pm. Free.
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Evening
Kentucky Cowtippers - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.
Ray Johnson & Richard Herdman - Prohibition Bar, Arch 3, Brandling St., Gateshead NE8 2BA. 8pm.
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Steve Bone - Al Forno, 81 Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 7pm.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

CD Review: Empirical – Connection

Nathaniel Facey – alto saxophone; Lewis Wright – vibraphone; Tom Farmer – double bass; Shaney Forbes – drums.
(Review by Hugh C)
 Empirical were formed in 2007 after the guys met whilst involved in the Tomorrow's Warriors scheme.  The current line-up has existed since 2008.  As you might expect from the name of the band their core ethos is one of experimentation.

Their first four albums were experimental with guest artists from a string quartet to a pianist to bass clarinet.  Connection features just the four core band members and is “an accurate representation of what we're doing now” according to Farmer, “This is our expression”.
Connection consists of a total of 10 tracks and comes in at just over 52 minutes in total.  The CD insert is short on words, but has four fine photographs of the band members at their sartorial best.  Their individual and collective musicianship on the CD is a sharp as their attire (see photograph).
The album is largely up-tempo with an overall thematic feel.  It is probably best heard straight through end to end, and indeed some of the tracks run straight into the next one.  The band members cleverly play off each other in well crafted, slightly off-beat skirmishes.  These are interspersed by more extended passages which permit the melodic qualities of Wright's vibraphone in particular to come to the fore. 
The ten tracks are all original compositions by band members Farmer, Wright and Facey. The different instruments are featured in virtuosic passages – exemplifying the band members' “uniquely equal role in the musical direction of the band”.
The CD begins with Initiate the Initiations followed, after a short fade, by Anxiety Society.  Stay the Course features a fine extended vibes solo by Wright accompanied by the percussive dynamo of Forbes' drums.  Driving Force surges forward into the relative tranquillity of Lethe, where the listener can breathe again and soak up the atmosphere engendered by Wright's languorous vibes overlain by Facey's almost Coltranesque alto saxophone.  One becomes lulled into a false sense of security and ends up lost in The Maze before segueing straight into Card Clash followed by The Two-Edged Sword (the shortest track on the album at 2.32).  Mind Over Mayhem (quite jagged – as might be expected) is followed by the more contemplative It's Out of Your Hands, the final track on the album.
Connection is due for release shortly on Cuneiform Records and is available for pre-order now through their website or usual retailers.  The London-based Empirical are touring as far North as Bedford (19/03/16), but if you happen to be in London between 22 – 28 February you may catch them in their pop-up jazz lounge at Old Street Station!
Hugh.

1 comment :

  1. Empirical are featured in the "Take Five" slot on Jamie Cullum's Radio 2 show this evening. Available on BBC iPlayer for 1 month (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b070wkf3)

    ReplyDelete

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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