★ ★ ★ ★ “Stunningly original ” – Downbeat Jazz Magazine
★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2 “Beautiful … touching … elevating.” – Jazzism
★ ★ ★ ★ “Koo is the type of piano player that appears to be painting with luscious pastel strokes. Melodies that, like a goldfinch, elegantly lift off and settle down again.” – Trouw
“With his CD Appleblueseagreen, that would perfectly fit in the catalog of a label such as ECM, Alex Koo delivers a fine example of what he’s capable of.” – Jazz’Halo
“Enchanting moments … music that appeals to the imagination. Koo has a well thought-out sound; every note has its meaning. He is a magnificent piano player, with great respect for detail, sense of color and dynamics.” – Jazzenzo
“We should be thankful that the young Koo -after having lived in The Netherlands, Copenhagen and the United States- is back in Belgium again. Because this record truly makes you dream!” – Jazz&Mo
It doesn’t happen every day that a Belgian jazz musician is praised by the world leading Downbeat Jazz Magazine with 4 stars and the words ‘Stunningly original‘. Yet it happened to Belgian-Japanese pianist Alex Koo with his latest CD ‘Appleblueseagreen‘(Clever Tree Records, March 2019), for which he collaborated with American icons Mark Turner and Ralph Alessi. Jazzism also praised their album with no less than four and a half stars: “Beautiful, touching, elevating“.
In his home country, the young pianist has steadily earned a status as an upcoming super talent, having been awarded with first prizes in the Prinses Christina Competition (NL), the SABAM B-Jazz Composition Award (BE), a Fulbright Award-Music Fellowship (USA-BE) and a Prins Bernhard Culture Prize (NL).
He has been complimented and praised by some of the scene’s biggest icons, such as Kurt Elling, Kenny Werner and Brad Mehldau and has studied with masters of the trade, such as Kris Goessens, Kenny Werner, Craig Taborn, Barry Harris and Jakob Bro.
Alex also performed all over the world, from Europe to the U.S. to Japan, with numerous internationally established artists, such as: Mark Turner, Kurt Elling, Ralph Alessi, Peter Bernstein, Benjamin Herman, Bert Joris, Mike Mainieri, John Ruocco, Jasper Blom, Martijn Vink, Dré Pallemaerts, …
A lot can also be said about Alex’s early musical development: Coming from a musical family, with two older brothers playing the violin, Alex started taking piano lessons at the age of five. Only ten years of age, Alex became a laureate in the Cantabile Piano Competition and won two extra prizes: the prize ‘Emmanuel Durlet’ for the best interpretation of the required piece and the prize ‘Chris Van Hoof’ for the youngest laureate. After many years of playing only classical music, Alex became interested in jazz music and improvisation, resulting in him taking jazz lessons at the Conservatory of Kortrijk (Belgium), where he graduated with highest distinction, for which he received the prize ‘Van der Weyden’.
Alex then moved to The Netherlands, where he completed both his Bachelor and Master’s Degree at the Conservatory of Amsterdam (including a one year exchange in the Rhythmic Music Conservatory of Copenhagen, Denmark). After this, with the intention of supporting his pursuit in music composition, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, a Belgian American Educational Foundation Music Fellowship, a Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Award and a Robus Foundation Award to complete a two year Master degree in Jazz Composition at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture.
He has toured and performed extensively as a leader and sideman in many festivals and venues all over the world, including: North Sea Jazz Festival, Bimhuis , Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ, Lantaren/Venster (NL), Casa del Jazz (IT), ShapeShifter Lab (NY,USA), Warsaw Summer Jazz Days (PO), Kongsberg Jazz Festival (NO), Jass sur Son 31 (FR), Copenhagen Jazz Festival (DK), Flagey (BE), bFlat Tokyo (JP) …