Name of Album: Waltz for Koop
Ratings: Personal - 5 General - 5
Release Date: January 29, 2002

Cecelia Stalin sings "we've only just begun" at the end of the opening and title track to Koop's newst album—Waltz for Koop—and it is certainly a great beginning. She reminds me of a mature, yet sweet-sounding Susan Vega, only more sophisticated than the woman who brought us in out of the rain to sit at the counter of Tom's Diner.

Koop has a sophisticated sound that reminds me of the seminal work of jazz greats like Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Dizzy. The voices are reminiscent of some of the soothing samba coming out of the sixties (Mikael Sunoin on track 2, Tonight, sounds like Chet Baker even) and the arrangements remind me of those of geniuses like Count Basie and Quincy Jones. Not what I had expected from a group named Koop—quite a pleasant surprise.

I've played this wonderful album four or five times now and the one thing I've noticed most beyond acoustical aesthetics is that it is perfectly abrupt. I am surprised each time it ends, so perfect its timing that it leaves my yearning to play it again—and I do (There are only 9 nimble tracks, 6 of them under 4 minutes each). (Note: I just read their press release, which I always read after I write my own original comments and it appears that the succinct length was by design—"Dissatisfied with the current industry standard of 70+ minute albums, Koop have made sure the new album, although two and a half years in the making, is brief in length while rich in content, like all classic albums of the past. You simply won't be able to get enough of it.")