(F-IRE CD 43, CD Review by Chris Parker)
Metamorphic are a quintet playing (in their words) ‘song-based contemporary jazz/folk, a mixture of originals and arrangements’. The arrangements in question on The Rock Between, all by the band’s composer/keyboard player Laura Cole, are of Thelonious Monk’s ‘Ruby My Dear’, material by Kenny Wheeler and Herbie Hancock (‘Kind Folk Tell Me a Bedtime Story’), Björk’s ‘Hyperballad’ and ‘Two Feet Fall/Nardis/Sunshower’, which weaves Miles Davis’s and Kenny Barron’s originals into a suitably climactic, multi-faceted closer.
‘Multi-faceted’ is perhaps the key description of this consistently intriguing and clearly heartfelt album, for Cole’s music, as she says in her brief sleevenote, charts ‘a journey through RSI, depression, recover and motherhood’, and the highs and lows of this process are faithfully reflected by the absorbing mix of wordless vocals, intimate lyrics and passion-filled instrumental breaks that make up a varied but intense programme.
Singer Kerry Andrew has a clear, pure-toned voice with a highly affecting timbre, and she interprets Cole’s often confessional pieces with great sensitivity. Led Bib’s altoist Chris Williams conjures compelling, arrestingly powerful solos from even the most fragmentary sources, tellingly complemented by the mellower tenor sound of John Martin.
With Laura Cole’s spare but cogent keyboards intelligently underpinned by bassist Paul Sandy and drummer Tom Greenhalgh, this is a rich, emotionally satisfying album that reveals fresh subtleties each time it’s played.
The London Launch of “Metamorphic” will be on on April 15th at the Red Hedgehog, 255 Archway Rd, N6 5BS, 7pm, £10/6, support from the chamber improv trio 7 Hertz.
More details and sound-clips from www.myspace.com/lauracolegroup