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£40,000 digital system is a coup for arts complex

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: January 17, 2013

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If there's one thing you can be sure of at an Empirical gig, it's the fact you won't be in for a dull ride.

The four young, British Jazz musicians, who perform compositions and improvisations, are Nathaniel Facey (alto saxophone), Shaney Forbes (drums), Lewis Wright (vibraphone, similar in appearance to the xylophone) and Tom Farmer (bass).

"If people come to one of our gigs and have never heard anything of this kind before and can take something away from it, that excites me," says Lewis, who was nominated for a British Jazz Award in 2010 and 2012.

"There's some pieces we play that are really set, whereas other pieces of music are more open in terms of harmony and form and lends itself to more improvisation.

"It's inclusive and friendly and we try and get through a spectrum of different feelings and tunes. We have fun, with narrative and range and story through the gig. The aim at the end of the day is for people to feel like they have gone on some kind of journey."

Together since 2007, the debut eponymous record Empirical was followed up in 2009 with Out 'n' In and have been extensively toured throughout the jazz circuit in the UK and abroad.

"At our gig coming up at the Terry O'Toole it will be a mixture of stuff. A lot of music from the last record we did, Elements Of Truth, and maybe a bit of a preview of the music on the new record we are recording now.

"We have done a lot of playing together and you get to the point, as with any relationship or friendship, where there's an element of trust and it's the same with music. If any of the others are going to take a risk I am going to listen – they always make good choices.

"I have always been a fan of jazz," says Lewis whose father, a percussion teacher and professional musician, began giving him drum lessons at the age of 3.

"I've recently got into vinyl and have been going back through records I know and records I don't. The fact you can hear a jazz song, say from The American Songbook, then you can hear it five times by five different people and it's completely different. There's so much you can do with jazz and there's a deep history to it. It's a cliché to say this I know but it's like a language, there's various ways of listening to it.

"So much popular music, when you follow family trees back and join the dots, it often leads back to jazz. I love other genres as well, soul, funk and classic music. And playing it. But jazz is like conversing with your friends, that's what I do on stage with Tom, Nathaniel and Shaney. Hopefully there's conversation involved musically. The interactive quality I really enjoy, being in the moment with them."

Empirical play the Terry O'Toole Theatre, North Hykeham on Thursday, January 24 (7.30pm). Tickets: £5-£12. Box office: 01522 883311, www.terryotooletheatre.org.uk

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