Empirical's smart post-bop style has drawn admiring notices on both sides of the Atlantic. Their debut recording went on to be voted Jazzwise magazine's album of the year, and Mojo magazine's jazz album of the year. Expertly incorporating elements of classical, African and Cuban musical forms into its original, sophisticated, fresh-sounding jazz, Empirical make a point of not being centred around a specific front line or leader; it is very much a complete band, each member contributing equally, adding their own facets to the overall sound.
In May 2008, Empirical collected the Ensemble of the Year prize at the annual Parliamentary Jazz Awards, held at the House of Commons, and organised by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group. This award was just the latest in a succession of accolades the band has picked up in its short lifetime: Empirical's award-winning assault on the jazz scene began at the North Sea Jazz Festival in July 2007 when they won the inaugural EBU/European Jazz Competition; this was followed later that year by the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award.
Empirical returned triumphant from their appearance at the iconic Newport Jazz Festival (Rhode Island, USA) last summer. During his introduction, Jason Olaine, vice president of programming for The Festival Network, acknowledged that it was no mean feat to receive a standing ovation at New York Jazz Festival, as Empirical did when they opened for The Bad Plus in June 2008; needless to say, their performance at Newport garnered another standing ovation. As well as their victorious return to the North Sea Jazz Festival, and their US sojourn, Empirical also performed at several other international jazz gatherings last year, including Canada's Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto and Montreal jazz festivals, receiving stand ovations at each.