Since the release of his debut album Triple Life New York based pianist, keyboardist and composer Manu Koch has shifted focus on his project Filtron M, a platform for a multi-national network of musicians and a compositional display of his extensive influences.
Born in Baar, Switzerland, Koch studied classical piano from age 6 and tenor saxophone at age 18 while also taking courses at the Jazz School Lucerne. In 1993 he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston where he graduated four years later. During his Boston years he became an in-demand freelancer performing with various bands and projects ranging from jazz, funk and hip-hop to music from Brazil, Mali, Trinidad and Haiti. Manu Koch relocated to New York in May 2000 where he still lives today.
His Swiss upbringing, a home base in the US for 25 years, and having resided in Brazil, India and China (Hong Kong) for extended amounts of time have formed his perception of the world and sense of sound as much as his work with over 100 artists, bands and projects throughout his professional career.
Some of his most significant sideman work includes collaborations with Angélique Kidjo (US Oyaya! touring band from 2004-2006), Santana’s musical director and former Miles Davis bassist Benny Rietveld (various projects since 2005), Romanian vocalist Teodora Enache, Nigerian talking drum master and vocalist Kofo The Wonderman (band member since 2007), Indian guitarist Prasanna, urban folk/jazz artist KJ Denhert, Cape Verdean vocalist Fantcha, French-Moroccan vocalist Malika Zarra, the New York Gypsy All-Stars (touring the US, Brazil, Europe and Asia from 2011-2016), and participating on 15 album productions by blues/soul artist Tomás Doncker for True Groove Records since 2012.
The core idea of Manu Koch’s project Filtron M goes back to the formation of his first group with Anat Cohen, Guilherme Monteiro, Gustavo Amarante and Harvey Wirht during his Boston years in the late 90’s. After Koch’s official debut album Triple Life (2011) he released the EP Mandatory Underground (2014) which introduces the initial members of Filtron M with Panagiotis Andreou and Patrick Andy on bass, Mauricio Zottarelli and Harvey Wirht on drums, and Sebastian Nickoll and Brahim Fribgane on percussion. The album Astoria Roots Live (2017) features additional guests like Camila Meza, Yaite Ramos, David Barnes, Tamer Pinarbasi and frequent member Samuel Torres, with performances at Iridium in New York and at Moods in Zürich.
Manu Koch has been exposed to numerous genres and music cultures by working with many leading figures in contemporary music for over two decades. As a professional he has collaborated with Mahmoud Ahmed, James Chance, Cindy Blackman, Selam Woldemariam, Lionel Loueke, Grégoire Maret, Joca Perpignan, Gino Sitson, Yacouba Sissoko, Kaïssa, Avishai Cohen, Portinho, Vanderlei Pereira, Bob Moses, Adam Deitch, Magos Herrera, Mendes Brothers and Sekouba Bambino to name a few. He also appeared in concert with top international artists such as Dave Liebman, Trilok Gurtu, Roy Hargrove, Mino Cinelu, Lonnie Plaxico, Graham Haynes, Duduka da Fonseca, Donny McCaslin, Miguel Zenon, Emeline Michel, Vusi Mahlasela and Hüsnü Şenlendirici.
Festivals and venues he has appeared include Summer Stage Central Park, Celebrate Brooklyn Prospect Park, Marcus Garvey Park, United Nations, Gerald W. Lynch Theatre, Blue Note Jazz Club, Iridium, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Florence Gould Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, B.B. Kings, Webster Hall, Joe’s Pub, Smoke, Smalls, 55 Bar, Nublu, Drom, Zinc Bar, Cornelia’s Street Café, BAM Café, ShapeShifter Lab, Café Wha, S.O.B.’s, Bitter End, Groove New York, Syracuse Jazz Festival, Yoshi’s Oakland, The Fillmore San Francisco, Campbell Hall Santa Barbara, Kuumbwa Jazz Center Santa Cruz, Sheldon Theatre St. Louis, Lensic Theatre Santa Fe, Lisner Auditorium, The Blues Alley, Bohemian Caverns Washington DC, Gordon Center For Performing Arts, An Die Musik Baltimore, Regattabar Boston, Nashville Jazz Workshop, 20th Century Theatre Cincinatti, World Music Festival Chicago, Global Union Festival Milwaukee, Milwaukee Summerfest, Nuits d’Afrique Montreal, Tel Aviv Jazz Festival, International Music Festival Ankara, New Delhi Jazz Festival, Blue Frog Mumbai, Egmore Museum Theatre Chennai, World Expo Yeosu South Korea, International Clarinet Festival Istanbul, Zorlu Center Istanbul, Babylon Istanbul, Jazztage Görlitz, Unterfahrt Munich, Moods Zürich, Musig im Pflegidach Muri, Caribana Festival Nyon, Francofolies Festival La Rochelle, Sala Clamores Madrid, El Plaza Condesa Mexico City, Mistura Fina Rio De Janeiro, Porto Alegre Jazz Festival, The Bálna Budapest, Gazarte Athens, Mylos Club Thessaloniki, Jazzmandu Festival Nepal, Luis Angel Arango Concert Hall Bogota, Hungarian Opera House Cluj, Bucharest Jazz Festival, Odeon Bucharest, National Theatre Mihai Eminescu Timisoara, Gărâna Festival.