Waltz for Koop

Palm Pictures, USA 2001

Jazzanova Compost Records, Germany 2001

Swedish electronica gurus Koop (Oscar Simonsson, Magnus Zingmark) elect on this new CD to move towards a jazzier vein we've seen others of their genre approach. Often I see this move done with at least a trace of ironic distance, but on Waltz for Koop the band prefer to play it straight, breezy and manically uncomplicated. No idea what fans of their rave soundtrack SONS OF KOOP (1997) think of this release's fluid acoustic bass, lush percussing and chiming piano, but the witty dips Koop make into the collective jazz-pop consciousnesses of Hubert Laws, Gilberto Gil, or Jack Jones will certainly cool down the overheating dance floor. The question is, just how much of this sort of genre slumming is needed in the civilized world -- consider how quickly the clubbers got tired of Dmitri from Paris -- but if it's possible that this slight confection might give somebody the itch to gravitate towards the Jobim file at their local music shop, more power to Koop! "Tonight," "Summer Sun" (winking horn section and all), "In a Heartbeat" and "Bright Nights" have that bossa bounce while Cecilia Stalin whispers alluringly a la Prefab Sprout's Wendy Smith in the title tune. None of the Sprout's lyrical heft here, though: in fact, all the vocalists -- Earl Zinger, Mikael Sundin, Yukimi Nagano, Terry Callier -- work overtime to push across the sketchy lyrics, and succeed. Yes, name the pop/Jazz cliche, it's probably here somewhere but Koop didn't set out to remake Coltrane's AfroBlue. No, they're more into simulating a ride in a convertible down a midsummer night city street, one eye on the road and the other on the streetlights flicking by. Mission accomplished, si vous voulez.

by K. Egbert

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