Saturday, November 19, 2011

Metamorphic - The Rock Between [F-ire]

Laura Cole - piano, rhodes, composer, arranger
Chris Williams - alto sax
John Martin - tenor, soprano sax
Kerry Andrew - vocal, loops
Tom Greenhalgh - drums, percussion
Paul Sandy - double bass
Shabaka Hutchings - bass clarinet (just the title track)

F-ire presentes 2011

If you don't know the names above and (as I am myself) you're always interested hear new music no matter the authorship this album comes easily recommended. "The Rock Between" is, as written on the cover, "music about a journey through RSI, depression, recovery and motherhood". Extremely personal but also simply an universal story of recovering from the past.

The extended ensemble blends the sound of modern jazz and sense of melody or dramaturgy of british folk rock.  With vocalese being a welcomed addition to the general mix (gentle voice by Kerry Andrew reminds me a bit of Norma Winstone). These are songs, some of them without words. Others sung dramatically, emphatically, yet with feminine delicacy. And that is as much thanks to Kerry's singing as to Laura's writing, her playing and bandleading. Multi-faceted, subtle. Slowly building the mood through stubborn ostinatos, and crescendo in the end of the title track. Or letting the music breathe with air with a 'pearly' rhodes sound. Intertwining three lead instruments (two saxophones and the voice) she has at her disposal, Laura Cole orchestrates refreshing musical canvas not limiting hereself with the most obvious unisonons but rather making juxtaposing, passing the melody or the chord between them, commenting those with her own piano playing. I won't try going into specific tracks since every one of them has its own charm.

The music qualities remain intact when the group is performing non-original compositions. Lyrical and intricantly re-arranged "Ruby, My Dear". Haunting and delicate "Kind Folk Tell Me a Bedtime Story" ("Kind Folk" by Kenny Wheeler and "Tell Me a Bedtime Story" by Herbie Hancock). The final track lines together Cole's own composition "Two Feet Tall" with "Nardis" (Miles Davis) and "Sunshower" (Kenny Barron). And there's also the enchanting take on enchanting "Hyperballad" by Bjork, filled with air, space and calmness.

Metamorphic obviously wouldn't be if not for great musicians supporting Laura Cole's vision and sharing her passion for music. The band's playing is right on the spot, with a handfull of strong saxophone solos troughout and infectious jazz rhythm.

This music is intelligent, brilliantly written and executed, honest, played with passion and dedication. Easily recommended. A great debut that grows on you with each listening. Have one (a listen) below:

* a couple of tracks from music are available in the playlist from 06.02.2012

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