Friday, January 8, 2010
Empirical: The New UK Hard Bop
Empirical are the latest in what is becoming an endless list of very solid groups coming from the U.K. at the moment. This London based quartet are steep in the John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman tradition of eclectic hard bop. Empirical utilize their influences with great skill and technical ease making their two albums, 2007's self titled debut and 2009's sophomore effort, Out'n'In immensely enjoyable.
Out'n'In (Naim Jazz) is a tribute to the legendary saxophonist, Eric Dolphy and his landmark Out To Lunch album. The music is definitely as challenging as Eric Dolphy, but delivers it in an incredible accessible manner that will find even the non-jazz listener stand up and appreciate the band's fast-growing popularity. This is an album that flows effortlessly, beginning with "Out But In" and features two covers of Dolphy tunes while closing out with the lovely "Bowden Out".
Empirical, in addition to Acoustic Ladyland and Polar Bear, may be the three bands to watch in 2010. The UK jazz scene hasn't been this hot in years. Empirical can be one of the leaders of the pack that could very well break out on this side of the Atlantic...I hope. For everyone who wants to check them out, go to their webisite and download the FREE 4 track Empirical Live At Ronnie Scotts Ep. (You might want to download the tracks individually instead of all at once. I had a little trouble. You can listen to it on your iPod or other MP3 player.) And did I mention it's FREE.