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 (formerly Denin Koch) has done a lot. He’s performed and/or recorded with Shane Endsley, Stafford Hunter, Brad Goode, Wycliffe Gordon, Dee Daniels, Drew Zaremba, Bob Curnow, the Colorado Symphony, and the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, published a book read around the world, and released a critically-acclaimed album of original music – and he’s only 26 years old. He is one of the most exciting and unique rising guitarists and composers on the scene today.
“re: manhattan project,” Slage-Koch’s debut album, 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.” It has been featured on NPR’s Northwest Public Broadcasting, AllAboutJazz.com, CITY Newspaper, WGMC Jazz 90.1 and more. His playing on the record been called “full of variety,” “nimble,” and possessing of “inherent modernism” and a “subtle touch.”
Slage-Koch's playing was recognized in the 2022 Downbeat Student Music Awards, where Slage-Koch was awarded "Best Graduate Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist" and was also recognized as a member of the University of Northern Colorado Lab One, which was named "Best Graduate Large Jazz Ensemble."
In November 2019, Slage-Koch published a transcription and analysis book on Kurt Rosenwinkel’s “Star of Jupiter” album with world-renowned guitar publisher Mel Bay Publishing, Inc. and approval from Rosenwinkel himself. He is also a major contributor on Rosenwinkel's forthcoming composition anthology.
Slage-Koch's compositions have been performed by ensembles across the United States. In 2022, his composition "One for Honey" was recognized as an honorable mention at the Ithaca College Jazz Composition Contest against compositions from 15 countries. Slage-Koch's compositions include works for small jazz ensemble, large jazz ensemble, studio orchestra, and solo voice and piano. Slage-Koch has also arranged for artists including Kurt Rosenwinkel.
Slage-Koch holds degrees from Whitworth University and the Eastman School of Music and is currently completing his doctoral work 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 Metheny, Rosenwinkel, Emily Remler, Wes Montgomery, Radiohead, Dmitri Shostakovich, Gustav Mahler, Led Zeppelin, and more.