Empirical - Wonder is the Beginning

2024 CD release

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Real groups like Empirical are a rarity in contemporary jazz, where musicians so often come together for single projects then disperse again once they are done: groups that endure for fifteen years, without slackening in their quest for the new and the fresh, are all but unheard of.

Having started their journey in 2007, Empirical now makes a triumphant return, re-taking their rightful place at the center of the UK scene with Wonder Is The Beginning, their first full-length album since 2016. Wonder Is The Beginning is a mature musical statement that shows the band’s fire is still undimmed and their commitment to maintaining the legacy while forging their own unique path is as strong as ever.

The personnel of the quartet, for whom sharp tailoring has become something of a trademark, has remained the same for fifteen years. Nathaniel Facey (alto sax), Tom Farmer (double bass), Lewis Wright (vibraphone) and Shaney Forbes (drums) confound listeners with a telepathic empathy that can only be attained after countless performances together.

On Wonder is the Beginning their palette is expanded by the presence of two remarkable guests. Alex Hitchcock contributes his voice on tenor sax to represent the rising generation of virtuoso players, while Jason Rebello adds his unmistakable presence on piano as well as the towering reputation he’s built over a thirty-five year international career.

The band entered the studio equipped with a set of specially written compositions, but also with their abiding philosophy - to always be open to the possibility of change. “It’s the core Empirical message,” says Tom Farmer “To be right in the moment, to make bold decisions and really communicate… to always be ready for the unexpected.”

The combination of complex, thoughtful writing and spontaneous improvisation is enabled by the absolute trust that comes from years of collective music making and is at the heart of what makes Empirical stand out consistently on the musical landscape. Both guests fit right into this ethos: “Some of the music was written specially for Jason and Alex to play, but they both embraced that commitment to change and freedom.”


SKU 5065014356272
Barcode # 5065014356272
Brand Whirlwind Recordings

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