It's been a heck of a weekend. The season 3 finale of NCIS; a day out in Leicester; some gratuitous shopping; Doctor Who (am saving myself to comment on that till after the finale next week); AND the Lichfield Jazz and Blues festival.
It was at the latter we had the joy of seeing Empirical, a young band of jazz musicians who frankly blew everything else we saw into a hat. Yes, trombonist Gareth Roberts' quintet were incredible (and very Welsh he was too!); yes, the Zoe Rahman's piano-led trio were delightful (she brought a particularly light touch to the proceedings even when she was banging the hell out of the keys). And clearly John Etheridge has some serious guitar skills, though I have to say he was a tad too rock-guitar-soloist for my taste - and not so much in a good way (ironic really given that our friend Nick who tipped us about the whole event practically falls over himself to criticise the failings of 'popular beat combo' performers).
But Empirical were on another level entirely. As I was flagging and under the weather it took some work to stay as long as we did, missing only the finale headline act of Jacqui Dankworth. But after a blistering opening set, we were determined to stick out to see their second set of the day.
Empirical are five young musicians of awe-inspiring talent and the band is currently comprised of:
Jay Phelps - trumpet
Nathaniel Facey - alto sax
Kit Downes - piano
Tom Farmer - double bass
Shane Forbes - drums
They are just a delight to watch and their musicianship, composition skills and energy on stage are mesmerising. Their album is due out next month. Buy it, but especially go and see them live.