Sterling Koch

Guitar & B

(Full Force Music)

A red Telecaster adorns the cover of this new album, recorded in Friedensberg, PA. Sterling Koch plays guitars and bass, working with executive producer Ivor Lewis.

Koch is a guitar instructor and stylist and features in guitar magazines. He plays solo shows and works with his band Freeway Jam. On this record, he is solo and instrumental and it’s quite fun spotting the probable influences..I say probable because I steal from everyone to attain my own touch and most of us would admit to this!

Easy Road makes for a gentle fusionish start before a Tom Scott funk groove settles in, the theme delivered with some taste and deliberation, muted picking mixed with clearly picked runs. It’s a pleasant lesson, followed by Holiday which has tremelo’d electric piano and a pressing beat, lots of air per soft flanging with an Eric Gale (not Gales) theme emerging. On to Unconditional which has a late night clap-beat vibe that reminds me of Grant Green, the melody emphasised and occasionally double tracked with harmonic counterpoints. Another Day takes string synth passages as its start and you would swear Luther Vandross was about to sing (I depped).

Trapped in A Minor is solemn in feel with a heavy theme underscored with percussion, sounding in search of a private eye film to complement and maybe the strongest inclusion here. Enough has stabbing acoustic chording on a Latin bedding and wah’d guitar. Koch sounds his most comfortable and natural on this cut, I would say. Summervibe is the right title for this dreamy interlude, though the guitar theme is solid..really does need a vocal OR the late Grover Washington on sax. The whole collection reeks of CTI and Kudu as any jazz buff will quickly realise.

Next up is Rebel, moody Blue Note piano intro and easy funk tread to the fore. How To Love intrigues with its acoustic setting and Earl Klugh ambience, beautifully handled. Then we get Stories Of Yesterday with a glorious electric piano tone and rolling tempo, the guitar floating along like a lily on a calm pond. The album concludes with Guitar & B Itself, delicate picked out with a sinewy undercurrent. Masterful playing which never puts dexterity ahead of melody or mood.

Pete Sargeant


Sterling Koch's new album 'Guitar & B' is out now on Full Force Music.

For more information visit his official website here: