Hailed as possessing “pristine playing, meticulous composing” and “a very personal voice deserving of attention,” guitarist and composer Denin Koch has synthesized his wide and varied influences into a unique approach to jazz improvisation. He has performed with Arturo Sandoval, Pat Metheny, Branford Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Dee Daniels, Ryan Keberle, and the Spokane Symphony Orchestra (as a soloist), published a book, graduated from the prestigious Eastman School of Music, and released an album of original music – all before his 25h birthday. Koch has honed his craft under the tutelage of many of the greatest musicians and educators in the world, including Kurt Rosenwinkel, Gary Versace, Bob Sneider, Dave Rivello, Bill Dobbins, Dan Keberle and Brent Edstrom. His playing has been called “full of variety,” “nimble,” and possessing of “inherent modernism” and a “subtle touch,”
Koch became interested in the guitar and started playing rock music at a young age, delving deeply into jazz after hearing the music of Pat Metheny as a teenager. He received a full-tuition scholarship to study jazz at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA, where he also became the youngest member of the Spokane Jazz Orchestra at the age of 20. Upon graduating from Whitworth, he received the faculty award for “service to the department and musical excellence” and was accepted on scholarship as a master’s student to the world-renowned Eastman School of Music. While completing his master’s coursework, Koch performed under Dave Rivello in the Eastman New Jazz Ensemble. In addition, he also published a transcription book containing all twelve guitar solos from Kurt Rosenwinkel’s “Star of Jupiter” album with world-renowned guitar publisher Mel Bay Publishing, Inc.
“re: manhattan project,” Koch’s debut album, is a ten-movement suite for jazz quintet that reimagines the story of the Manhattan Project, which Koch’s hometown of Richland, WA was deeply involved in. The piece received a grant award from the Institute for Music Leadership at the Eastman School of Music, was named a “Project We Love” by the Kickstarter staff, and was nearly 200% funded by more than 50 backers during its Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. “re: manhattan project,” received a four-star rating on AllAboutJazz.com and has been praised as “remarkable,” “extraordinary, “moving” and containing “beautiful interplay.” It has been featured on NPR’s Northwest Public Broadcasting, AllAboutJazz.com, CITY Newspaper, WGMC Jazz 90.1 and more.
As both a guitarist and composer, Koch’s influences include Metheny, Rosenwinkel, Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, Gilad Hekselman, Radiohead, Dmitri Shostakovich, Jimmy Page, Gustav Mahler, Dexter Gordon, Jim Hall, Igor Stravinsky, Miles Davis, Emily Remler, Led Zeppelin, Johann Sebastian Bach, Lage Lund, Herbie Hancock, Blue Mitchell, Barney Kessel and more.