Keyboardist, pianist and composer Manu Koch belongs to a New York-based, transnational tribe of artists who are reshaping the contours of contemporary groove-based music in the 21st century. His debut album, Triple Life, released in March 2011, distills his multiple- dimensional musical life as a performer into one funky, jazz-inflected amalgam of global electronic music. Besides his wide-ranging sideman work for nearly two decades he is the founder and leader of Filtron M, a project which best can be described as a filter of his musical experiences and the vast group of international musicians he has collaborated with.
Manu began honing his craft in Baar, Switzerland, where he spent his early years enmeshed in the European classical tradition. By age 16, with a solid technical background, he gravitated towards jazz and other contemporary music. Only a few years later he decided to take the leap to the US where he quickly became an in-demand keyboardist/pianist in the multicultural Boston area. He performed and recorded with a broad range of bands and musicians in a number of different styles, among them the Malian kora player/vocalist Balla Tounkara, the Wally’s Café house funk band (which included rhythm heavyweights Adam Deitch, Sam Kininger, Jeffrey Lockhart, Eric Krasno, and Charles Haynes), the Caribbean jazz band Ron Reid & Sun Steel, and the Cape Verdean Mendes Brothers. Key to this period was his sustained engagement with the Brazilian jazz scene, in particular, the group Zabumbatuq, which boasted vocalist Teresa Inês, clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen and bassist Leonardo Cioglia, all of whom helped to expand his transnational musical vocabulary.
Since his relocation to New York in 2000, he has continued and expanded on his early work with groove-based jazz and popular music artists. He has recorded and shared the stage with prominent jazz contemporaries Lionel Loueke and Avishai E. Cohen, and performed with a wide range of the New York-based Brazilian pantheon, drummers Portinho, Vanderlei Pereira, Adriano Santos and the members of Nublu favorites Forro In The Dark to name a few. In recent years his more notable engagements were with Brazilian house band Brazooka at Café Wha and with Davi Vieira & Hip Hop Axé, fixtures of the New York Brazilian dance music scene.
A musical chameleon, Manu has toured with afro-pop star Angélique Kidjo and since 2005 also performed with Fantcha, the Cape Verdean protégé of Cesária Évora, and Miles Davis/ Santana bassist Benny Rietveld occasionally featuring Cindy Blackman-Santana on drums. He is the regular keyboardist for Nigerian talking drum master Kofo The Wonderman, a staple of the Zinc Bar scene, and frequently collaborates with urban folk and jazz vocalist/guitarist KJ Denhert, Moroccan jazz vocalist Malika Zarra and Israeli flutist Mattan Klein. Since 2011 he has toured internationally with the New York Gypsy All-Stars and has become a vital element in singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer’s Tomas Donckér’s ‘Global Soul’ movement with his participation in the critically acclaimed ‘Power Of The Trinity’ project.
With Filtron M Manu Koch has created a platform to present and explore his compositions with various live band configurations and videos. Having performed extensively with masters of groove and improvisation from India to Brazil, Europe to North America, he is now blending his diverse influences into his own ever-expanding global sound.