Monday 6th May 2019
£20.00 - £37.50
Nathaniel Facey (alto sax)
Tom Farmer (double bass)
Lewis Wright (vibraphone)
Shaney Forbes (drums)
‘Empirical are among the most admired and individual-sounding bands in contemporary jazz. […] As anyone who has heard the band live will know, their approach is so fresh and their sound so appealing that there’s never a dull moment. Much of this is down to the instrumentation of alto saxophone, vibraphone, bass and drums, which has the lightness and clarity to convey quite adventurous ideas without losing the listener along the way.’ (The Observer)
Since their formation in 2007, Empirical haven’t ceased proving their fearless creative fervour, while honing an instantly recognisable group sound rife with raw energy and roiling emotion.
Featuring Nathaniel Facey (alto sax), Tom Farmer (double bass), Lewis Wright (vibraphone) and Shaney Forbes (drums), the band settled on its current line-up in 2008 following the departure of three of the original college-friends quintet.
Collective study and exploration has remained the bedrock of Empirical’s creative process and has seen the band assimilate influences from right across the rich history of jazz. While oblique harmonies, translucent textures and jagged, quick shifting rhythms are the signposts of Empirical’s musical territory, the band is not afraid to explore other musical realms: a collaboration with the string ensemble Benyounes Quartet, and the attendant challenge of making strings an integral part of the Empirical sound, brought out some of the band’s most complex and lyrical writing.
Since their formation in 2007, the multi award-winning quartet Empirical have steadfastly maintained their position as one of the UK’s most exciting jazz ensembles. Featuring Nathaniel Facey (alto sax), Tom Farmer (double bass), Lewis Wright (vibraphone) and Shaney Forbes (drums), Empirical’s instrumentation has proved the perfect vehicle for the band’s invariably complex compositions and distinctive signature sound. “Flirting with nostalgia while living on the edge of experimentation” (Jazzwise), Empirical’s music is defined by a deep commitment to improvisation and a uniquely collective creative process.
In keeping with their risk-taking approach to music-making, in 2016 the quartet embarked on a daring exercise in audience creation with their ‘Pop-up Jazz Lounge’ residency project, which has seen the band turn disused shops in train stations and shopping malls in London, Berlin, Birmingham and Cheltenham into fully-fledged jazz clubs, for a week at a time. Since then, the band has played to more than 10,000 appreciative commuters and shoppers, racking up over 150 live sets in the process. Most recently their pop-up featured as part of the 2018 London Jazz Festival and was named one of the eight festival highlights by Time Out.
For Empirical, this kind of gigging marathon is a much-relished opportunity to develop new musical ideas during live performance, such as their latest two-part EP set. Entitled Indifference Culture and Distraction Tactics, the recordings form a musical response to the culture wars and political upheaval that have become the ‘new normal’ of the world in 2018 and capture to the greatest degree yet the exhilarating intensity and exceptional virtuosity that Empirical’s performances have become known for.
Distraction Tactics, the second of their two-part EP project, is set for release on 3rd May 2019 with a launch show at London’s Ronnie Scott’s club on Monday 6th May 2019.
“Empirical are among the most admired and individual-sounding bands in contemporary jazz. Much of this is down to the instrumentation, which has the lightness and clarity to convey quite adventurous ideas without losing the listener along the way.” (The Observer)
“As always, their staggering level of eloquence, creativity and energy captivated not just those familiar with their sophisticated post-bop language but everyone exposed to the perfectly honed and balanced collective sound of Nathaniel Facey's alto, Wright's vibes, Tom Farmer's bass and Forbes's drums.” (The Blue Moment)
“Empirical are exactly what top-class modern jazz should be – trailblazing yet wholly respectful of tradition.” (Time Out London)
Support: Will Cleasby Trio
Will Cleasby – Drums
Will Barry – Piano
Joe Downard – Bass
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