Empirical Find Us On Facebook Or You Tube


Nathaniel Facey
Alto Sax
Tom Farmer
Double Bass
Lewis Wright
Shaney Forbes

Recorded three years ago in Birmingham’s world-class concert hall, the music charity responsible for Town Hall and Symphony Hall will broadcast the full concert from the multi award-winning jazz quartet Empirical on Facebook on Friday 30 November.

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As a music charity, every day that Town Hall and Symphony Hall are closed puts the livelihood of musicians and artists, staff and suppliers in jeopardy. The current COVID-19 crisis will dramatically limit our ability to present the many learning, talent development and community engagement projects that form a vital part of our work and positively impact almost 20,000 young people and adults each year.

As concerts are cancelled and postponed to 2021 as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Town Hall Symphony Hall has continued to bring live music to the people of Birmingham and beyond.

Digital broadcasts from Town Hall and Symphony Hall have amassed over a quarter of a million views since they began in April. Every Friday at 7PM through to November, an array of musicians have continued to entertain online audiences with pre-recorded concerts from Symphony Hall.

Since their formation in 2007, Empirical have steadfastly maintained their position as one of the UK’s most exciting jazz ensembles. Their rare instrumentation has proved the perfect vehicle for the band’s invariably complex compositions and distinctive signature sound.

Empirical have released five critically acclaimed studio albums to date and have featured at major jazz festivals including North Sea Jazz, Jazz sous les Pommiers, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Newport, New York, Molde, and Berlin and London jazz festivals. They are two-time recipients of the UK Parliamentary Jazz Award (2008 and 2016 ‘Best Jazz Ensemble’) and won the 2016 Urban Music Award and the 2010 MOBO Award for ‘Best Jazz Act’.

In keeping with their risk-taking approach to music-making, in 2016 the quartet embarked on a daring exercise in audience creation with their ‘Pop-up Jazz Lounge’ residency project, which has seen the band turn disused shops in train stations and shopping malls in London, Berlin, Birmingham and Cheltenham into fully-fledged jazz clubs, for a week at a time. Since then, the band has played to more than 10,000 appreciative commuters and shoppers, racking up over 150 live sets in the process.

For Empirical, this kind of gigging marathon is a much-relished opportunity to develop new musical ideas during live performance, such as their latest two-part EP set. Entitled Indifference Culture and Distraction Tactics, the recordings form a musical response to the culture wars and political upheaval that have become the ‘new normal’ and capture to the greatest degree yet the exhilarating intensity and exceptional virtuosity that Empirical’s performances have become known for.

We’re excited to be part of Town Hall Symphony Hall’s streaming series with a very memorable concert from 2017 that featured mainly music from our album Connection. The title refers to the unique connection we have with each other as musicians – something that is sorely missing from our lives right now given the difficulties of getting together to perform or even to rehearse. We also miss the connection to our audiences and the energy that only exists in live performance. We’re very grateful for the support Town Hall Symphony Hall have shown us over the years and hope concert-goers will support these venues as they continue weathering these challenging times. We look forward to playing this beautiful venue again in the not-so-distant future.

Tom Farmer, Empirical

Empirical’ s incredible performance in 2017 was one of many gigs presented at Symphony Hall that year as part of our jazz programme, which offers performance opportunities to emerging and established contemporary jazz musicians alongside talent development initiatives for Birmingham-based talent. Concerts and events like this are at the centre of our business, since the coronavirus outbreak struck this period of closure has already resulted in huge losses which directly impact the 18,000 young people and adults we introduce to a world of music every year. Throughout this global pandemic, many registered charities are relying on the generosity of their supporters more than ever. The digital performances and activities we have continued - and will continue to deliver - in these desperate times have been made possible with the support of Town Hall and Symphony Hall’s audiences.

Nick Reed, Chief Executive for the music charity responsible for Town Hall and Symphony Hall