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Metamorphic: The Two Fridas (Discus)

Having met at Middlesex University in 2001, this sophisticated London-based contemporary jazz/folk sextet formed in 2011, recently adding vocalist Kerry Andrew (Juice), as pianist Laura Cole composes music and text based on her personal experiences; pieces include two collective improvs and 2 reworkings of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman".

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product information:

UPC: 5051078959924

Label: Discus
Catalog ID: 65CD
Squidco Product Code: 25748

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at the Real World Studios, in Box, Wiltshire, United Kingdom, on January 27th, 28th and 29th, 2017 by Oli Jacobs and Oli Middleton.


Kerry Andrew-vocals

Chris Williams-alto saxophone

John Martin-tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone

Ollie Dover-bass clarinet

Seth Bennett-double bass

Ruth Goller-double bass, electric bass

Johnny Hunter-drums

Laura Cole-piano, keyboard, composer

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Artist Biographies:

"Kerry Andrew (born 5 April 1978, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire) is an English composer, performer, writer and educator.

She has a PhD in Composition from the University of York and is the winner of four British Composer Awards. Her debut novel, Swansong, was published by Jonathan Cape in January

From age 3 to age 6, Andrew lived in Canada with her family. The family subsequently returned to the UK and settled in the Buckinghamshire area. Andrew earned a BA in Music, MA and PhD in Composition, all from the University of York.

Andrew was Composer in Residence at Handel House Museum during 2010-12, and was Visiting Professor of Music at Leeds College of Music in 2015-16. She won her first British Composer Award in the Making Music Category in 2010 for her choral work 'Fall', and won two awards in 2014, in the Stage Works category for her wild swimming chamber opera 'Dart's Love' and in the Community or Educational category for her community chamber opera 'Woodwose,' written for Wigmore Hall, and for which she also wrote the libretto.

Andrew's 'No Place Like,' was written for the BBC Ten Pieces scheme, and receives BBC Proms performances in both 2017 and 2018. She has written large scale pieces for young and non-professional ensembles, including 400 Lewisham-based primary school children at the Royal Festival Hall; for Animate Orchestra, the Junior Trinity Symphony Orchestra and 500 singers of the South London Riverside Partnership at the Royal Albert Hall; and for the massed choirs of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall in her piece 'who we are.' She created a concept drawing and vocal EP A Lock Is A Gate for Art on the Underground in 2011, and a work simultaneously performed by 25 community ensembles around the UK for the Landmark Trust. In 2015, she wrote a piece for the London Sinfonietta to fight for the National Health Service (featuring the recorded voices of 60 members of the public, including actor/campaigner Michael Sheen).

Andrew was a British Council/PRS for Music Foundation Musician in Residence in China in Spring 2016, spending five weeks in the Henan Province in 2016. She made collaborative new rock/traditional-inspired songs based on foxes in folklore.

Andrew's choral works have been published by Faber Music and by Oxford University Press, including in Carols for Choirs. Her vocal trio piece The Song of Doves concluded the national memorial service for the victims of the 7 July bombings, receiving national broadcast live on the BBC and other news outlets. Her composition Dusk Songs was commissioned and recorded by The Ebor Singers, and released by Boreas Music in 2007. Elsewhere, her work has been recorded on the Naxos and Nonclassical labels, and choral premieres have been given by the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, The Hilliard Ensemble, ORA Singers, the Joyful Company of Singers and Alamire.

In addition to her composition work, Andrew performs with the vocal trio Juice Vocal Ensemble, who have released two albums on the Nonclassical label, which include her music. She also performs as alt-folk soloist You Are Wolf and is a multi-instrumentalist with the band DOLLYman. As You Are Wolf, she released her debut album, exploring British birds and folklore and entitled Hawk the Hunting Gone, in 2014 on Stone Tape Records. From 2007-17, she sang with Laura Cole's jazz ensemble, Metamorphic.

Andrew has written libretto for her own music-theatre works and articles for The Guardian. She made her short story debut on BBC Radio 4's Stories from Songwriters Series in 2014, and Jonathan Cape published her debut novel, Swansong, in January 2018."

-Wikipedia (

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"Chris Williams. Instruments: Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone

Being inspired by Jazz in his early years, Chris graduated from Middlesex University with a 1st class honours in Jazz Studies in 2004. Since then, he has been an active member of the thriving music scene in London covering genres far and wide; ranging from electro pop and left field rock to African folk and free improv. Being involved in this vast array of styles has allowed Chris to develop a unique voice both as a musician and composer. This has led to critical acclaim and awards for a number of bands, performances at prestigious venues and festivals, as well as numerous TV and radio sessions broadcast around the world.

As well as developing technical ability along with awareness of harmony and theory, Chris encourages students to embrace improvisation and explore music through their instrument; drawing a link between the music that one feels as a listener and the music that one plays as a young musician.

With Mercury-nominated Led Bib set to release their sixth album and recording dates scheduled for a number of other bands (Let Spin, Metamorphic, Arun Ghosh, Namvula) all in early 2017, Chris will also be undertaking an MA in Jazz at the Royal Academy of Music, continuing his own development as a performer, composer, and music educator."

-Young Music Makers (

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"John Martin is a Saxophonist and Composer. Current projects include: The Hidden Notes, Metamorphic, Metamorphic/Royst Collaboration, The Dubnoiz Coalition, The Beat, The Root Source, Awale, Isaac Asumadu, Joyce Moholoagae, Femi Sofela, jo n'gala, Dee Anderson.

After studying composition with Nikki Iles and Eddie Parker at Middlesex University, John went on to play as a sideman in many bands on both the jazz and world music scenes. He has preformed and guested with: Gareth Lockrane, Roberto Pla, Dele Sosimi, the legendry ska band The Beat and the award-winning singer Liane Carroll. He is a member of the critically acclaimed contemporary jazz folk septet Metamorphic and the Dr Das Dubnoiz Coalition, the side project of Dr Das, the bass player and founding member of the Asian Dub Foundation.

His début album "Dawning" was reviewed as 'one of the most fascinating and beautiful releases' of 2011, receiving positive testimonials from both Kenny Wheeler and Iain Ballamy. John has been a guest on both BBC radio 3's jazz line up and jazz Fm's Sunday jam and has been featured in the Jazzwise column "taking off".

Highlights include:

A live broadcast from the BBC introducing stage at Manchester jazz festival with Metamorphic. A live session with Awale at the BBC Maida vale studios for BBC radio 3. Gigs In Paris, Bulgaria and Belgium with the Dr Das Dubnoiz Coalition. Dr Das is a founding member of the Asian Dub Foundation. Metamorphics 2nd album Coalescence' which received excellent reviews all round. 4 stars from The Guardian, Jazz Wise and The Jazz man. A magical gig with Awale in Tunisia, supporting 2012 Grammy award winner Tinariwen. Gigs with Martins Hidden Notes Project at Kings Place and the 2014/2015 London jazz festival. Playing with the legendry ska band The Beat and supporting the Happy Mondays.

As well as being busy as a sideman John has dedicated the past 5 years to developing a tonal approach to the sonically fascinating soundworld of saxophone multiphonics and overtones patterns.

The project is called 'The Hidden Notes' and has culminated in the release of Martin's second album "The Hidden Notes - Spirit of Adventure" which features a quintet made up of some of London's finest jazz musicians.

The album received praise from legendry American saxophonist Bob Mintzer who called it "Beautiful and compelling... His certainly found the notes between the notes!" It was also described as "a milestone for both himself and the saxophone world" by Barak Schmool the founder of the F-re collective.

The Hidden Notes - Spirit of Adventure was released to critical acclaim in 2016, receiving 4 star reviews from: Jazzwise, Jazz Journal, The Jazz Mann, The Arts Desk and All About Jazz. The project was also awarded a grant from the Arts Council of England to support a 14 date national tour."

-John Martin Website (

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"Ollie Dover is a clarinetist known for the groups The Sorcerers and Metamorphic."

-Squidco 11/30/2022

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"I've been earning money and having fun playing music for over twenty years, firstly as a bass guitarist, trumpet player and trombonist, and, for the last twelve years, primarily as a double bass player. I first bought a bass guitar on my eighteenth birthday, and started gigging with it shortly afterwards, in bars and cafes around Sheffield, where I lived at the time. On moving to Leeds to study in 1993, I formed my first proper band, Baby Harp Seal, playing Hardcore Punk, and, in 1994, did my first tour with them, in France, Belgium and Germany. We released our first 7 inch record shortly afterwards, and an LP in 1996. Two days after my last university exam , I left on tour with the band Headache, with whom I toured extensively in Europe for the next three years; we were on tour for an average of seven months out of each year. We released an album in 1997, and continued until 1999, when the band split up. I returned to Leeds, working on several different projects, including Snail Racing, a bass guitar trio with added drums, and touring with the band Almanac.

In 2001 I moved to London, and found work with the "nu-jazz" electronic act Hefner, with whom I toured several times, as well as recording a session for Gilles Peterson's Worldwide, and playing on his stage at the North Sea Jazz festival. Lee Jones, who ran the band Hefner, also asked me to play on an album he was producing by an act called Abraham, and I subsequently played live with them too, as well as recording a session for Jonathon Ross' show on BBC Radio 2. It was during this time that I bought my first double bass, and embarked on the lifetime's work of learning how to play it. Returning to Leeds in 2003, I started to concentrate more on the jazz and improvised music side of my practice, and around this time started playing in the band 7 hertz, an improvising ensemble who used their 'classical' instrumentation - violins, bassoon, clarinets and horn - to explore chamber ensemble playing in an improvisational context. In 2008, having slimmed down to a quartet, we released an album on the label Birdwar called 'Tender, Almost Vulgar'. During this period I was also working in a band called McWatt, a duo with flautist and accordionist Sarah McWatt, with whom I released an album in 2006.

Other projects around this time included the jazz band If Destroyed Still True, who won a Parliamentary Jazz Promoter's Choice award, as well as Jazz Yorkshire's band of the year award in 2010. They released the album 'Seven Dials' in 2009, and undertook a Jazz Services funded tour. The improvised Music and Dance project 'Mathilde' started around this time too, an attempt to reconcile improvisation in two different media, dance and music. You can watch video of Mathilde elsewhere on this site. The project continues to this day, with a recent performance in Leeds on a bill along with Jer Reid and Solene Weinachter from Glasgow. The project blog is here. More recently, I have been working as a sideman for Mary Hampton, the superb folk singer from Brighton and Laura Cole's Metamorphic. Alongside this, I have been running my own trio Nut Club, the Bennett-Cole Orchestra, and a co-operative trio with pianist Laura Cole and drummer Peter Fairclough. I recently stopped playing trombone in Swiss Afro-punk dadaists rchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp.

I have been teaching at Sheffield Jazz Workshops for the last three years, for which I jointly won a Jazz Yorkshire award for Best Teacher. In the summer of 2012 I taught on the Sound and Music Composer's Summer School at the Purcell School in Hertfordshire, and I am building a busy individual teaching practise."

-Seth Bennett Website (

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"Ruth Goller (originally from Bressanone-Italy) is based in London and plays electric and double bass.! After studying music in the UK ('The London Music School" and BA Jazz at Middlesex University), she now performs regularly with leading UK bands, such as Acoustic Ladyland, Melt Yourself Down, Andreya Triana, Oriole, Pat Walden, World Sanguine Report, The Golden Age of Steam, Bug Prentice, The Sefiroth Ensemble, Kamao Quintett, The Moss Project, Let Spin, Gufo and many more.

Outside the UK, Ruth toured and worked with Malien singer Rokia Traore, renowned Serbian pianist and composer Bojan Z, Iranian Sufi- master and musician Davood Azad, Somali singer AarManta and Mim Suleiman!

Ruth is very active in the London Music scene and her interest in musical variety is vast (from improvised music, Jazz, Punk, Rock, Hip- Hop, Reggae, electronic music, traditional Balkan music, to Brazilian and African music). She also has been writing monthly columns for the Bass Guitar Magazine and teaches electric bass at Kent University."

-Ruth Goller Website (

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"Johnny Hunter is a northern UK-based drummer who comes from a background of both the Avant-Garde and the more mainstream Jazz. He has performed or recorded with such esteemed musicians as Benn Clatworthy, Mick Beck, Nat Birchall, Jamil Sheriff, Jamie Taylor, Pete Fairclough, Walt Shaw, Corey Mwamba, Steve Beresford, Graham Clark, Adam Fairhall and Steve Berry to name a few. He is also heavily involved in the Reggae and Dub scene.

He is currently playing with Misha Gray's Prehistoric Jazz Quintet, Liverpool-based group playing heavy modal Jazz inspired by John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders and the like; Nat Birchall; Engine Room Favourites, AACM inspired Free Jazz; the Blind Monk Trio, sax/bass/drums trio playing heavy rootjazz; the Dub Jazz Soundsystem, a mash-up of heavy Dub and psychedelic modal Jazz; Skamel, a Ska/Jazz/Dub ensemble inspired by the French Reggae group Raspigaous; his own "chordless" quartet set up to explore the freedom and limitations of having no chordal instrument; among several other projects. He also runs the Jazz jam night at Matt & Phred's Jazz Club."

-Johnny Hunter Website (

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"Laura Cole is a jazz composer/pianist who lives in Leeds but whose band (Metamorphic) is based in London. Metamorphic features, Kerry Andrew (vocals), Chris Williams (alto),John Martin (tenor/soprano), Paul Sandy (bass), Tom Greenhalgh (drums).

Metamorphic will play in Jazz in the Round at the Cockpit Theatre on Monday January 28th. They also have a gig at the Vortex on the 24th February with Frank Byng's (Slowfoot Records) quintet, Snorkel.

The group have one album out (The Rock Between, 2011, F-IRECD43 - reviewed by Chris Parker), and release their follow up (Coalescence, also on F-IRE) later this year (2013).

Laura also has a blog which discusses the issues that women face in music and holds a First Class Honours Degree in Jazz from Middlesex University."

-London Jazz News (

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track listing:


1. Cellular 6:21

2. Deer Medicine 6:18

3. Charcole I 7:20

4. The Mountains, The Sea/ The Island 10:27

5. Dark Thundering Moon 10:26

6. Little Woman, Lonely Wing 9:06


1. 26,302 1:48

2. Senken 4:41

3. Digging For Memories 17:18

4. Charcole II 7:47

5. The Two Fridas 9:15

6. Truth 5:54
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Metamorphic are an octet of some of the finest improvising musicians in the UK, who play compositions written by pianist and bandleader Laura Cole, based on her emotional journeys and personal experiences. The Two Fridas is their third album; their two previous albums, Coalescence (2013) and The Rock Between (2011) received widespread critical acclaim, with the music described as 'amazingly original' (Jez Nelson, Jazz on 3); 'highly personal and self-revelatory' (John Fordham, The Guardian); 'compelling and ear-catching' (Peter Quinn, Jazzwise); and 'utterly remarkable' (Brian Morton, Jazz Journal).

This is a group who really relish playing together, and the sound and intention behind this music is one that has hugely evolved in the ten years the band have been playing together. Metamorphic explore the intensity of collective experience, with Laura Cole's compositions as a starting point, through spoken word, improvisation and tightly written passages.

Track details

Cellular- This piece was originally written for the improvising big band I used to run with double bassist Seth Bennett, The Bennett-Cole Orchestra. There are four simple musical cells to the composition. What interests me is how, as a band, we move between these cells; the relationship and transition between improvisation and written music.

Deer Medicine- The inspiration behind this piece comes from a dream I had a few years ago, where a beautiful deer bounded into my dreamworld, stopped, and looked me straight in the eye. It was very powerful and felt like a message. The friend I was staying with at the time (who this piece is dedicated to) said that a deer in a dream indicated a new spirit of gentleness. She gave me a text about this significance, which forms the basis of Kerry's improvised vocals on the piece.

Charcole I- I wrote the poem for this piece following seeing a gig in Brussels, a trio of guitar/effects, duduk and mediaeval instruments/ electronics. The music was incredibly sparse but also very rich and sustained. I loved this juxtaposition. This piece is entirely improvised instrumentally; we had never played it before. I loved the freshness this gave the piece when we recorded it.

The mountains, the sea/ the island- because no one is an island.

Dark Thundering Moon- The title of this piece came from a screenplay my daughter Martha, then aged around 8, was writing a few years ago, with the same title. I asked if I could write the music for her film, and she agreed!

Little Woman, Lonely Wing- The original idea behind this piece came from an imagined meeting between Jimi Hendrix and Ornette Coleman. Little Wing and Lonely Woman are two of my favourite pieces of theirs, and I decided to try and thread the two pieces together, with this imaginary meeting in mind. This is a trio arrangement of the original piece involving the whole band, which appeared on our second album, Coalescence.

26,302- This piece is dedicated to the late Bob Hesketh. Bob was an old family friend, and a close childhood friend of my dad's; he was a Times crossword compiler, and 26,302 was the number assigned to his last crossword published in the Times before he died. The words in the piece are taken from the clues in the crossword.

Senken- This piece is about cuts. Cuts musically, metaphorically and actually, and how we as musicians deal with this. This piece is dedicated to Corey Mwamba, as an acknowledgment of all the support and hard work he puts into putting musicians on in Derby, in the best working environments possible, despite these cuts.

Digging For Memories- This piece, really a short suite, is about visiting Auschwitz a few years ago. In the days, weeks, months following the visit, I struggled to find an appropriate way to respond to this harrowing experience creatively. I was then given a book called Écorces (Scorched) by the philosopher and author Georges Didi-Huberman, detailing his visit to Auschwitz, expressed through words and photographs, and the inherent difficulties he also faced in terms of how to respond artistically to such an overwhelming experience. In his book, Didi-Huberman includes a quote by the German Jewish writer and philosopher Walter Benjamin, who left Occupied France overland in 1940 with plans to escape on a boat to the US, but became trapped at the border in Northern Spain, and subsequently took his own life. Benjamin's quote was about digging for memories; about the internal architecture of how and why we remember; and the hidden emotional recesses behind what we remember. I based this piece on Benjamin's quote, in the spirit of remembrance for all the souls who suffered and died at Auschwitz. The spoken word section of the piece is called The Phoenix, and is a poem I wrote about a dream I had of a Phoenix on the eve of my 40th birthday. I felt the idea of a Phoenix rising from the ashes encapsulated the process behind this piece.

Charcole II- This is version 2 of Charcole, which we recorded immediately after version 1. I decided to include it in the album as I felt both versions had their place in the recording.

The Two Fridas- The origins behind the title track of the album began with a postcard of Frida Khalo's The Two Fridas landing on my doormat a few years ago, from Robert Wyatt. I had sent our second album, Coalescence, to Robert, and he had written some lovely words of support and encouragement on this postcard. It was an incredibly inspiring and defining moment. As a Gemini, the image of The Two Fridas also resonated strongly. I wrote a poem based on this postcard, Sylvia Plath's poem Paralytic, and the idea that Frida Kahlo painted so many self-portraits as she was the subject she knew best.

Truth- This is only arrangement on the album, written by and dedicated to drummer Pete Fairclough. When I began playing jazz at age 17 at Sheffield Jazz Workshops, Pete would run some of the sessions. His musicianship and advice during those sessions are still very much with me today; and I am proud to say that I have since played professionally with Pete in a number of different line ups."-Discus Music

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Octet Recordings
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Spoken Word
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