★ ★ ★ ★ “Stunningly original” – Downbeat Jazz Magazine
“Belgium is too small for pianist Alex Koo” – De Tijd
“Alex Koo surpasses himself on Identified Flying Object“ – Knack
★ ★ ★ ★ “West Flemish world citizen (and jazz pianist)… when Alex Koo starts floating, it’s with his band Identified Flying Object” – De Standaard
★ ★ ★ ★ “Grand classe” –Dansende Beren
“A gem of a record”- Luminous Dash
“We are amazed” – Le Soir
“The year just started and we already have a world class record from our very own soil.” – Jazz&Mo
★ ★ ★ ★ “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
Belgian-Japanese pianist and composer Alex Koo is currently paving his way as a promising young talent in the European jazz scene. Recently, his CD ‘Appleblueseagreen‘, with American icons Ralph Alessi and Mark Turner, was praised by Downbeat Jazz Magazine and included in their list of ‘Best Albums of 2019‘, with 4 stars and the mention ” Stunningly original “ (Clever Tree Records, March 2019). Jazzism also praised his album with no less than four and a half stars: “Beautiful, touching, elevating“.
In his home country, the young pianist has been quoted by many as a rising star, backed by 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) …