A few months ago, Denin Slage-Koch reached out to me asking if I’d like to write about the October release of his new album, It Comes in Waves. Remembering how much I enjoyed his first album, re: manhattan project, I jumped at the chance to get an early listen. I thoroughly enjoyed every track.

I’m not a professional jazz critic, but I know what I like. Easy to listen to while evoking a variety of emotion, It Comes in Waves is an inspired collection of classical sounding jazz by a talented young composer. 

Denin Slage-Koch

As Slage-Koch writes in his album release notes,

“At the mercy of life’s raging seas, the only power we have is our ability to love and show compassion to one another. This truth inspired the creation of this music, and it is my hope that all who hear it are inspired to love more deeply, listen more closely, and cherish everyone they meet exactly as they are.”

It Comes in Waves indeed captures that truth. The press release describes the album as “a celebration of the human experience, with all the highs, lows, joys, sorrows, pleasures, and pains that come with it.” And I hear that in every composition, with Slage-Koch’s skilled guitar leading each tune accompanied by the impressive jazz instrumentalists he has assembled. The connection among the musicians reflects the connections we all have through our shared human experience. And forgetting about the troubles of the world for a few minutes — allowing me to focus on the positives of human connections — reinforces my hope for the future.

I asked Denin about his connection to the Tri-Cities. 

“I spent the first 18 years of my life in the Tri-Cities and am a proud graduate of Richland High School. My parents and sister still live there, and my wife is from Pasco. I find the Tri-Cities to be one of the most fascinating places in the country — a trio of quiet towns with an oversized place in world history that is located quite literally in the middle of nowhere (in fact, that's why they picked the spot!). I still love to visit my friends and family there, and I always try to play at the Emerald whenever I'm in town. I take pride in the fact that I am from a ‘little big town’ and feel an immense amount of gratitude towards the place that raised me and the people there who believed in me as a person and as a musician from a young age.”

It Comes in Waves features eight new compositions by Slage-Koch along with his arrangement of the Tears for Fears classic “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” Band members are Denin Slage-Koch: electric and acoustic guitars, Ryan Keberle: trombone, Jared Cathey: clarinet, Shane Endsley: trumpet and flugelhorn, Gavin Allen-Dunn: keyboards, Seth Lewis: bass, and Bobby Wien: drums and percussion.

For more information, visit deninkochmusic.com

For our review of re: manhattan project, go to tumbleweird.org/the-manhattan-project-and-all-that-jazz.

Ted Miller has been part of the local performing arts scene for over 25 years. He currently serves on the board of the Washington State Community Theatre Association.