One of the most promising new jazz groups from the United Kingdom, Empirical shows a great deal of potential. Jay Phelps is the group’s trumpeter, being born in Vancouver and moving to London when he was 17. Completing a degree at Trinity College of Music, he has worked with Andrew Hill, George Benson, Courtney Pine and Gerrard Presencer. Altoist Nathaniel Facey has a degree from London’s Royal Academy of Music and has worked in settings ranging from gospel to Afrobeat including stints with Soweto Kinch and Jean Toussaint. Pianist Kit Downes is studying at the Royal Academy of Music and has gigged with Prescencer, Joe Locke, Stan Sulzman and others in addition to leading Troyka. Bassist Tom “Tillah” Farmer started out studying piano, switching to electric bass when he was 16, eventually doubling on acoustic bass.
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.