Toby Arrives Launching Koch Marshall Trio
Gregg Koch, uber guitarist, self-titled ‘ King Of Gristle’, practicer of necromantic six-string sorcery, certainly knows a thing or two about a thing or two. So, it was with some trepidation after finally agreeing to his son ( and drummer ) Dylan’s relentless requests, that they booked a studio to jam with Hammond B3 maestro Toby Marshall.
You can feel the utter joyorific amazement on ‘Toby Arrives’, the first song, that also gave the album its title. Those very first never-played-together-before notes are captured here for us lucky people to witness this universal alignment of talent extraordinaire. The resultant shuffle in G allows the listener that rare view of musicians ‘feeling each other out’, creating sparks and trading energies. The sense that the three smiles on those faces grew wider as the song progresses is impossible to ignore. Interplay, chemistry, call it what you will, but yes, Toby certainly has ‘arrived’.
The first signing to Mascot Label Group’s new ‘Players Club’, Koch Marshall Trio present ‘Toby Arrives’ in an organ trio format, with Toby Marshall’s Hammond bass pedals filling out any lack of low end. Second song ‘Funk Meat’ is a one-chord funk feel jam, with straight drums and a cool groove. Gregg’s biting Telecaster howls, moans, snarls and squeaks but always plays for the song. When you have a trick bag as full as Gregg’s it’s easy to show off but on ‘Funk Meat’ and throughout Gregg and Toby showcase but not clutter. It’s Toby and the roaring Hammond B3 that provide the biggest lifts, you can hear Dylan react to the energy with great dynamism.
Production throughout is bold, nice big and full bass, live recorded ( mostly ) in the studio. Dylan Koch’s drums could be higher in the mix for my taste. They tend to get a little lost here and there. He plays more of an accompanist role and it’s a shame he isn’t given just one chance to show his obvious chops. You can hear the youth but the groove is strong with Koch Jr, and he’s got a bright future ahead.
The lead song from the album, ‘ Heed The Boogaloo’ is a quirky, catchy, can’t get it out of your head number, with a classic familiar pounding bass line. The head is nodding once more, with great groove drumming on the beat. Gregg’s motif guitar part is full of his trademark sass, swagger and humour. Again he takes the first solo, country chicken-pickin’ meets Robben Ford, propelling the tune along, with lovely ‘outside’ notes that tease the ear. Toby sticks to more conventional pentatonics, but the energetic roaring Hammond lifts again raise Dylan, resulting in Gregg’s bar raised even further with another world-class lead break.
Stand out track for me is the 9 plus minutes of ‘Mysterioso’, where at last Dylan gets a showcase and takes us away from the bluesy and into Jeff Beck territory, with a great groove. Another flavour from Gregg with a spacey delay, coupled with an almost psychedelic Hammond. This song needs an oil light show, a get stoned on the music prog rock delight. Gregg also shows us what an influence Derek Trucks is on the guitar world with some of his trademark slide licks, trippy, trance-like and triumphant at the climax.
‘Toby Arrives’ is the sort of album you could stack alongside a Thelonius Monk record, a Jeff Beck record or a Mike Landau record. If you went for one of the other three and got this by mistake your day wouldn’t be ruined. Throw in Albert Collins and Albert Lee and you get the picture. The last track ‘Sin Repent Repeat’ is a sign of things to come. This initial meeting and resultant jams could progress to present more composition such as on this number, with an overdubbed acoustic and at last a louder drum mix flowing in a slide led groove that rounds things up perfectly.
As a live concert momento, and a capture the moment jam ‘Toby Arrives’ works perfectly. Whether you’ll still be listening in a week, month or year I’m not sure. Musicians will steal licks and talk tones, but all will look forward with eagerness to the follow-up, ‘Toby Has Been Here A While Now Let’s Get Down To Business’.
Pendragon for Bluesdoodles gives Koch Marshall Trio ‘Toby Arrives’ a jamtastic
EIGHTdoodle paws out of TEN …
Out via Mascot Label Group 23rd February 2018
- Toby Arrives
- Funk Meat
- Heed The Boogaloo
- Let’s Get Sinister
- Enter The Rats
- Boogie Yourself Drade
- Sin repent Repeat