Here we have from Cuneiform the fifth release from Britain's young jazz act Empirical, titled Connection. It also happens to be the first the group has recorded without the use of guest stars, so in essence Connection marks the debut of the band all on their own, allowing for their top notch musical & songwriting skills to rise to the occasion.
Empirical features the talents of Nathaniel Facey (alto sax), Lewis Wright (vibraphone), Tom Farmer (double bass), and Shaney Forbes (drums), and on Connection the group have created 11 tracks of modern jazz with a healthy nod to the greats of the '60s & '70s. Memorable melodies permeate all the tracks, with each one allowing for ample solo space by the players, especially Facey & Wright. Check out the cascading vibe solos on the intense "Stay the Course", the soaring sax explorations supported by rumbling drums on the engaging "Driving Force", and the sizzling, complex sax & vibe patterns on the busy "The Two-Edged Sword", all great examples of catchy jazz songwriting with tasty ensemble instrumentation. The band get even more intricate, dropping in a wealth of counterpoint on the rollicking "The Maze" and the acrobatic "Card Clash", while the groove laden "Mind Over Mayhem" and the playful "Fluid Flow" show the band at their rhythmic best.
Overall Connection is a very strong album from a band that continues to make great strides in the world of modern jazz. Seek this one out!
1. Initiate the Initiations (3:52)
2. Anxiety Society (4:09)
3. Stay the Course (7:16)
4. Driving Force (5:16)
5. Lethe (7:06)
6. The Maze (4:15)
7. Card Clash (5:15)
8. The Two-Edged Sword (2:32)
9. Mind Over Mayhem (6:18)
10. It's Out of Your Hands (5:49)
11. Fluid Flow (digital bonus track) (4:50)