CLAUS KOCH: SNOOKI-ING ( nagel-heyer-records 2029)
Worlds Greatest Jazz Journal (UK)
The Koch group from Germany plays good solid Hardbop with skills and no lack of imagination. The only reservation I would have is that it does not really sound like today but 1950s West Coast or, occasionally as on "Theme For Cookers" 1950s NYC hard bop. Koch is a sturdy tenor stylist with a lightweight tone reminiscent of Lester Young and Zoot Sims He plays with assurance and luidity throughout the program of eight originals by himself and bandmembers and the one standard. Hesse has a pleasingly brassy trumpetsound and his lines are constructed with care and invention. The piano, bass and drum team are higly efficient and compatible with Raible adding to the considerable solo strenght of the group. The music is all very servicable withe the opening track a medium swinger, Counterblow an interesting variation on an J.S. Bach sonata which the leader turned into a minor Blues. Super Spider is fouriosly paced up tempo romp similar to many of those old West Coast run throughs of the late1950s Koch and Hesse met at the music conservatory in Austria two years ago and there is no doubt both men recieved a very thoruogh technical training.
1950s hard bop seems to be the dominant language in jazz today and all five musicians are highly competent in this style. A little more in the way of originality might have been a good idea, but we can´t have everything I suppose. The music is so well played and with such obviuos enjoyment and enthusiasm that I refuse to make any further critical comments.
Check it out.