Audiophile is a word that can be good to some people, complete lunacy to others. I am not an audiophile by any means, but I do care about what I listen to and try to pay close to attention to what I’m hearing. I enjoy knowing that a song or album was done in a way that shows hard work and respect towards the music, and if you’re familiar with the word NAIM, then you’ll know about their approach to sound and music. I saw the NAIM logo on this album by Empirical and I looked forward to opening this up so it could open me up.
Empirical consists of Nathaniel Facey (alto sax), Shaney Forbes (drums), Tom Farmer (double bass), and Lewis Wright (vibraphone), and together they play what can be described as post-bop, reminiscent of some of the best jazz albums of the early 1960’s that may show John Coltrane‘s, Ornette Coleman‘s, or Charles Mingus‘ influence at any given time. In truth, the album was created with Eric Dolphy in mind. Out ‘n’ In is perhaps a nice way of describing the band’s approach on this album, always trying to step out of jazz’s boundaries while very much being in it by default. In fact, Farmer’s own “Out But In” shows the possibilities of being genius and ingenius in terms of how they play and how the song is structured. When they take on Dolphy’s own “Hat & Beard”, you immediately go back to the era the original song was done and feel as much as what Dolphy tried to share with his listeners. The rhythm section of Forbes and Farmer will make you want to see and hear how these two do it live, and it just sounds so great here.
Jason Yarde produced this, while Dave Moore engineered and mixed it (with a bit of assistance from Toby Hulbert. It was mastered by Ray Staff. It’s a British production from start to finish, even though the music sounds as if it was recorded in Chicago, Detroit, or St. Louis. Empirical have been getting a lot of recognition for their live shows, now you’re able to sound how they keep things bottled up in a studio setting. Explosive? This is the future of jazz now.