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Waltz for Koop

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Album Review

Sweet vocal jazz for the post-club generation that could have been made decades ago, Koop's debut album finely treads the line between the hipster posturing and lounge perfection that is the specialty of acid jazz radio guru Gilles Peterson. Lush orchestration and hard bop rhythms make Waltz for Koop a pleasing sensation, but it is the rotating cast of vocalists that gives the album a strength beyond kvetch. Newcomers Cecilia Stalin and Yukimi Nagano both follow the fluttering vocal lineage of Astrud Gilberto on two songs each. The ladies perform effortlessly next to songs featuring certified vocal greats Earl Zinger and Terry Callier, each of whom wrote the lyrics to their respective numbers, "Modal Mile" and "In a Heartbeat." Callier's turn is the highlight of the album, with Koop augmenting the master's voice and their own retro melodies with subtly modern sounds, creating a fusion that remains true to the traditional form while staking their own 21st century musical claim. Though Koop occasionally steps into pretension (the album contains several unnecessary vocal interludes taken from old jazz programs), Waltz for Koop is one of those rare albums that succeeds in paying homage to the artist's heroes without sounding like watered-down versions of said forerunners. Put any of this album's songs on a mix tape next to a classic by Elis Regina or Chet Baker, and see if it doesn't fit together.

Customer Reviews

One of the finest albums

Never met someone I've recommended this to who didn't end up loving it.

Biography

Formed: 1995 in Uppsala, Sweden

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s

Magnus Zingmark and Oscar Simonsson are responsible for the groundbreaking music that appears under the name Koop. Inspired mainly by jazz musicians, but also learning from the work of hip-hop and dance artists, Zingmark and Simonsson formed the group in the midst of the fertile Swedish jazz scene. After meeting in Uppsala, the pair moved to Stockholm and began working with a series of collaborators, releasing their debut full-length in 1997. Sons of Koop inaugurated a new sound for Swedish jazz...
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Waltz for Koop, Koop
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