Harmolodics is the theory of jazz improvisation founded and propounded by Ornette Coleman. On the strength of this impressive debut, the young London-based five-piece Empirical had no problem getting their head around it.
Empirical’s original compositions are not so asymmetrical and there are stronger melodies to hold on to, compared to Coleman’s. But their music does have similarly startling cross-currents in the interplay. Their sound harks back to the early 1960s too, with Facey mocking on the alto in the manner of Coleman.
But this isn’t a tribute album and Empirical seem to be using Coleman here as a launch pad for their own distinctive thing: the shape of British jazz to come, perhaps. Garry Booth