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Bebop Spoken There

Brian Carrick: "I contacted Max Jones of Melody Maker and offered to be his correspondent in the States, but I should have done what Ken Colyer had done, get a job on a ship and then jump ship in the States. So I didn't make it [to New Orleans] till 1973." - (Just Jazz May 1999)

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COVID-19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

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Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

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 :

Hugh said...

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)

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