Empirical


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Empirical (originally a British quintet of trumpet, sax, piano, bass and drums) played exotic hard-bop instrumentals on Empirical (Destin-E, 2007). Out 'n' In (Naim, 2009), an Eric Dolphy tribute, featured a new line-up with vibraphonist Lewis Wright. Elements Of Truth (Naim, 2011) consolidated the lineup of Nathaniel Facey on alto saxophone, Lewis Wright on vibraphone, Tom Farmer on double bass and Shaney Forbes on drums. The double-disc Tabula Rasa (Naim, 2013) contains their most ambitious compositions: Facey's The Simple Light Shines Brightest (9:42), Farmer's Conflict In Our Time (9:50), Forbes' Where Wisdom Is Found (8:04) and especially Repentance (8:53), and the standout, Wright's The World In His Mind (11:27).

By comparison, Connection (february 2015) is a lightweight work, opened by the carnevalesque Initiate the Initiations whose playful atmosphere is doubled by Farmer's saxophone-driven scherzo Anxiety Society, the album's standout. The composer is almost never the protagonist of a piece: Facey's more traditional-sounding Stay the Course boasts a lightning-speed vibraphone solo, while Wright's Lethe is actually dominated by the saxophone, with the vibraphone simply spreading ripples of chromatic notes.

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