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Empirical

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One of the leading outfits on the U.K. jazz scene, Empirical are known for their edgy, harmonically nuanced approach to post-bop. The group emerged to significant acclaim with their 2007 Courtney Pine-produced debut, Empirical. They have continued to develop their sound, releasing highly regarded albums including 2013's Tabula Rasa with the Benyounes String Quartet, 2016's Connection, and the 2019 EP Distraction Tactics. Formed in 2007, Empirical came together while the members were all students at London's Trinity College of Music. Originally, the group featured Canadian-born trumpeter Jay Phelps, pianist Kit Downes, alto saxophonist Nathaniel Facey, bassist Neil Charles, and drummer Shaney Forbes. That same year, they won the EBU European Jazz Award in Rotterdam and released their eponymous debut, Empirical. Featuring production and musical contributions by saxophonist Courtney Pine, the album gained significant press buzz and led to the band touring heavily throughout the U.K. and Europe. By 2009, Phelps, Downes, and Charles had parted ways with the group to focus on their solo work. That same year, Empirical returned with their sophomore album, Out 'n' In, which found remaining members Facey and Forbes joined by bassist Tom Farmer and saxophonist Julian Seigel. On the heels of the record's release, they also took home Britain's Parliamentary Jazz Award for Best Ensemble. With 2011's Elements of Truth, the group's lineup of saxophonist Facey, drummer Forbes, and bassist Farmer solidified with the addition of vibraphonist Lewis Wright. The same Empirical lineup returned in 2011 with Tabula Rasa, which featured collaborations with the Benyounes String Quartet. In 2016, they released Connection and gained further viral attention playing a daily "pop-up" show at Old Street Underground station in London. That year, they also took home their second Parliamentary Jazz Award. Following a bevy of live dates, the band released two EPs in 2018 and 2019, Indifference Culture and Distraction Tactics.
© Matt Collar /TiVo
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Discography

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