This contemporary jazz quintet emerged from London-based Tomorrow’s Warriors and attracted much attention in the UK and northern Europe. The members are Nathaniel Facey (b. 1983, London, England; saxophone), Jay Phelps (b. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; trumpet), Kit Downes (b. 1986, England; piano), Neil Charles (b. Birmingham, West Midlands, England; bass) and Shaney Forbes (drums). Winners of the European Broadcasting Union’s European Jazz Competition at the North Sea Jazz festival, they toured with considerable success. Their live appearances received high critical acclaim, as did their 2007 debut for the Destin-E label.
Playing a driving contemporary variation on hard bop and free jazz forms of an earlier generation, Empirical generates powerful and engaging multi-layered music that can be enjoyed for its surface enthusiasm and skill and for its deeply engaging inner values. Appearing as guests on Empirical are label owner Courtney Pine, on bass clarinet, and Dennis Rollins on trombone. Several of Empirical’s members contribute original pieces to the quintet’s repertoire among which are Facey’s ‘Blessings’, Downes’ ‘Dark Lady’, Phelps’ ‘Clapton Willow’ and ‘A Tyrant’s Tale’, and Forbes’ ‘The Kite’. Among other pieces are Ali Farka Touré’s ‘Tulumba’, ‘The Deep’, ‘Fat Cat’ and ‘Palantir’.