Welcome news this week that UK hard bop-and-beyond band Empirical will have a new album out in 2024, their first since 2016. Switching to the Whirlwind label guests on the album are pianist Jason Rebello and saxophonist Alex Hitchcock. Entitled Wonder is the Beginning the mid-March release will be issued on vinyl and CD as well as on digital formats. Empirical - Nathaniel Facey (alto sax), Tom Farmer (double bass), Lewis Wright (vibraphone) and Shaney Forbes (drums) - have always set high standards and it will be fascinating to hear what their next chapter after all this time away has in store. The band say: ''It’s been a special journey creating this music and we can’t wait for you all to hear it.''