Having been praised as possessing “pristine playing, meticulous composing” and “a very personal voice deserving of attention,” award-winning guitarist and composer Denin Slage-Koch has done a lot. He’s played with with Shane Endsley, Clay Jenkins, Ryan Keberle, Carmen Bradford, Steve Guerra, Stafford Hunter, Brad Goode, Wycliffe Gordon, Dee Daniels, Drew Zaremba, Bob Curnow, the Colorado Symphony, and the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, published a book, and released two acclaimed albums of original music – and he’s only 27 years old. He is one of the most exciting and unique rising guitarists and composers on the scene today.
As a guitarist, Slage-Koch's accolades include a multiple Downbeat Student Music Awards, a 2022 Pathways to Jazz grant award, and performances at venues including the national Jazz Education Network conference, Boettcher Concert Hall, and Dazzle Denver, among many others. His debut album, “re: manhattan project,” is a ten-movement suite for jazz quintet that reimagines the story of the Manhattan Project, which Slage-Koch’s hometown of Richland, WA was deeply involved in. “re: manhattan project,” received a four-star rating on AllAboutJazz.com and has been praised as “remarkable,” “extraordinary, “moving” and containing “beautiful interplay.” His third album, featuring trombonist Ryan Keberle and trumpeter Shane Endsley, will be released in September 2023.
Slage-Koch's compositions have been performed by ensembles across the United States. In 2023, he received a Herb Alpert Young Composer's award for his work "It Comes in Waves," and in 2022 his composition "One for Honey" was recognized as an honorable mention at the Ithaca College Jazz Composition Contest against entries from 15 countries. Slage-Koch has arranged for artists including Kurt Rosenwinkel, Melissa Aldana, and Carmen Bradford.
Slage-Koch holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Whitworth University and is currently completing his doctorate at the University of Northern Colorado. He has over ten years of teaching experience and currently directs the UNC Jazz Guitar Ensemble and Blue Note combo. Slage-Koch's major teachers include many of the greatest musicians and educators in the world, including Kurt Rosenwinkel, Gary Versace, Steve Kovalcheck, Bob Sneider, Dave Rivello, Bill Dobbins, Dan Keberle and Brent Edstrom. His music draws influence from a wide range of artists, including Pat Metheny, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Emily Remler, Wes Montgomery, Radiohead, The Beatles, Dmitri Shostakovich, Gustav Mahler, Led Zeppelin, and more.