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Bebop Spoken There

Michel Camilo: "That first year, believe it or not, to practice I drew a keyboard on a piece of cardboard, because I could hear in my head all the notes" - (JazzTimes, Feb. 2020).
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The Things They Say!

Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Rupert Burley (Dynamic Agency): "BSH just goes from strength to strength".

Today Saturday February 29

Afternoon

Jazz

Great North Big Band Jazz Festival - Park View Community Centre, Church Chare, Chester le Street DH3 3PZ.. Tel: 07958 302745. 12:00 noon. Open Section (senior) competition. (Winners’ concert - 7:00pm). £15.00. weekend ticket, £12.00. day ticket, £5.00. under 16. Day 2/3.

Tees Valley Jazzmen - Hammer & Pincers, Preston Lane, Preston-le-Skerne, Newton Aycliffe DL5 6JH. Tel: 01325 314873. 1:00pm. £2.00.

Evening

Keith Nichols w New Century Ragtime Orchestra - Caedmon Hall, Gateshead Library, Prince Consort Road, Gateshead NE8 4LN. 7:30pm. Tickets £15.00 from 0191 281 4011. Line-up includes guests Keith Nichols (piano, vocals) & Nick Ward (drums).

Mike Lovatt w Strictly Smokin’ Big Band - Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4461. 8:00pm. £14.70. Trumpet virtuoso w SSBB.

Mansion of Snakes - Cobalt Studios, Boyd St., Newcastle. 9:00pm. Donations. Cobalt’s Late Night Jazz Club. Band + DJ.

Blues/Funk/Soul

Red Hot Riot - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

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 :

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)