Empirical new album ‘Elements Of Truth’ out Oct 24th
aaamusic | On 12, Sep 2011
Empirical, winners of Best Jazz Act at the MOBO’s 2010, return with their third album ‘Elements Of Truth’ on Naim Jazz Records.
British post-bop pin-up boys Empirical made a swift ascent to the heights of the UK jazz scene in April 2007, when their Courtney Pine produced, eponymous debut album garnering the group accolades such as Jazzwise Magazine’s Album of the Year, Mojo Magazine’s Jazz Album of the Year and BBC Jazz Awards Best Ensemble. Their 2009 debut Naim Jazz release Out ‘n’ In was subsequently greeted with wide praise for its Eric Dolphy-inspired originals, culminating in a MOBO for Best Jazz Act, live on BBC TV in October 2010.
On October 24th, Empirical return with ‘Elements Of Truth’, their most expertly crafted, mature and individual statement to date. However, this talented quartet’s successful projection has not been as straightforward as it may, at first, seem.
Even in jazz, it would seem the best ‘story’ pushes praise for the music itself into periphery, whilst it focuses on the dramas that talented, headstrong musicians, who dream of a uniquely democratic jazz ‘collective’, often play out. The old cliché of artistic differences was applied in abundance, with a tabloid hunger, by the jazz columnists, amidst controversy surrounding the exit of trumpeter Jay Phelps and pianist Kit Downes (whose subsequent solo album received a Mercury Prize nomination). The lucid reality being that advocating a progressive jazz ‘collective’ is easier said than done, but in very simple terms, sometimes people want to do their own thing.
Elements Of Truth is about getting back to the essence of Empirical; observing, experimenting and commenting through music. Unlike the finite Dolphy-led insight of Out ‘n’ In, the new album gives Empirical space to draw upon influences from film and tv, proverbs, sayings and even sports! So while collectively they will acknowledge musical influences from the oblique sounds of Andrew Hill and Eric Dolphy’s sublime Out To Lunch, to the more contemporary stylings of Vijay Iyer or name check Wayne Shorter and Branford Marsalis, it is their unique ability to express what they think and feel on a range of ideas through the collaborative trial and error process of jazz improvisation that makes them such a powerful group.
Eric Dolphy, the fabled Blue Note recording artist, whose premature death in 1964 prevented the broad recognition he so much deserved, became the inspiration behind Empirical’s MOBO winning ‘Out ‘n’ In’ in 2009. The magic behind the new album, Elements Of Truth, is the knowledge and experience that allows Empirical, on their first wholly self-produced record to date, to interact so vivaciously in the creative process, from the Bjork inspired repetition of Simple Things (composed by bass player Tom Farmer), to the boxing affected vitality of
In The Grill (by saxophonist Nathaniel Facey), to the House Of Horror infused meter changes of An Ambiguous State Of Mind (also by Farmer, and written to feature the album’s guest pianist, young Londoner George Fogel) and the ethereal progression of title track The Element Of Truth (vibes player Lewis Wright’s first Empirical composition on record.
Now in their third chapter, this journey is the source of Empirical’s strength and the immensity behind Elements Of Truth. Enlightened by the journey that has granted them standing ovations from New York to Molde and Montreal to London and a brimming trophy cabinet, the Empirical quartet, still in their mid-twenties, are finally in full swing, on and off stage.
Empirical play London Jazz Festival with Archie Shepp at Queen Elizabeth Hall on 17th November 2011. A headline UK tour will also be announced for Jan/Feb 2012 this Autumn.
20th Sept Concha Segura Teater , Murcia SPAIN
27th Oct Enjoy Jazz Festival, Heidelberg GERMANY
17th Nov Queen Elizabeth Hall w/ Archie Shepp LONDON (London Jazz Fest)
19th Nov Clore Ballroom London, BBC Jazz on 3 LONDON (London Jazz Fest)
2012 ‘Elements of Truth’ Tour
14th Jan Turner Sims Concert Hall SOUTHAMPTON
21st Jan Royal Northern College of Music MANCHESTER
10th Feb Royal Welsh College of Music CARDIFF