February 23, 2018 Koch Marshall Trio – Toby Arrives (Album Review)
What do you get when combining talented and passionate musicians? You get the Koch Marshall Trio. Who exactly are the Koch Marshall Trio? Centering around the guitar work of unsung talents of Greg Koch, joining him are his son Dylan Koch on drums and Hammond B3 Specialist Toby Lee Marshall. Together they take experience as well as youth and blend it together for an explosive mix of Blues, Jazz, Funk, and Rock. Cooking up some fantastic jams, the trio mash it into a party that feels like an old-school club; dark smoky toe-tapping grooves holding the joint down. Enticed yet? Well, keep reading.
As stated, Greg Koch is a bit underappreciated. A highly talented guitarist, he has been dubbed “fiendishly talented” by Author/former Editor-In-Chief of Guitar Player Magazine Tom Wheeler as well as “scary good” by guitar hero Joe Bonamassa. Growing up in a musical family, naturally his son Dylan gravitated toward the art, choosing the drums as his instrument. Dylan participated in the Jazz Institute at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music before continuing his studies at the McNally Smith School of Music in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis–Saint Paul. Lastly comes the amazing talents of Marshall, who in fact was retired from music until recently, working on a farm and taking it easy. Finding the right situation, he and his screaming organ complete the trio, who release their debut album, Toby Arrives, on Friday, February 23, 2018 via Mascot Label Group imprint The Players Club.
Toby Arrives, eight songs in total, is the work of the three musicians captured during the unexpected jam sessions. Realizing they had something special, the music was captured on recording and now they gift it to the public. That in mind, is it as delightful to the ears of listeners as it is to the creators?
That is a simple answer, yes it is! The joy of this instrumental album is that each cut stands alone, not reliant on the past or the future. Musically, there is the essence of greatness alongside legends such as B.B. King to Chuck Berry, all way to Joe Satriani, but this is just testament to Koch’s skills. Sharing an unconscious connection with his son Dylan and Marshall, together, they dish out one smooth tune after another. From the title cut “Toby Arrives,” with its strolling tempo, to the ease of “Funk Meat,” the songs morph into an amazing new relationship with organ influenced Blues Rock.
Then there are slinky sweet Blues Rock songs such as “Let’s Get Sinister,” which lives up to the vibe of its title. Then, clocking in as the longest composition of the album, at nearly 10 minutes, “Mysterioso” slides in over halfway through Toby Arrives with a kind of futuristic twist of something much more experimental. Breaking through with some interesting guitar songs, it has a trippy atmosphere matched with solid riffs towards the end.
Embracing a more classic Blues feel, “Enter The Rats” is that cut that got away from a generation of twist and shouts. Furthermore, anyone who says that this band would not work with an organ are gravely proven wrong with this song alone. Additionally, listeners are assaulted by guitar riffs not heard in years. As far as Marshall, it is hard to believe he had retired from touring, especially when listening to album closer “Sin Repeat Repeat” where his Hammond unites with the guitar and drums for a powerful jam.
It is a bold move to release a debut album that is strictly instrumental, unless it is of course a power-pocket guitar solo stroking madman. Nonetheless, this is a delightful exhibition of musicianship by this trio. Together they have created a masterpiece that is both heavy and dynamic, interesting as well as vibrant from track to track. Well done Koch Marshall Trio. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Toby Arrives 5 out of 5 stars.