Daniel Ko is one of the brightest new saxophone players to have recently entered the Korean jazz scene, being awarded the prestigious Rising Star award by Jazz People Magazine in 2018, awarded to promising young jazz musicians in Korea, after winning the grand prize in the Yongin Jazz Festival competition in 2017.
Starting jazz saxophone from an early age in Ottawa, Canada, his early potential was quickly recognized and awarded with the Slate scholarship, given to only one Canadian annually, which provided a full scholarship to Berklee School of Music. While going to school in Boston, he began playing with prominent local musicians such as Jason Palmer, Ingrid Jensen, Godwin Lewis, Stephen Hall, and after graduation performed at various clubs and festivals such as the Blue Note, Smalls Jazz Club, The Rex Toronto, and the Ottawa International Jazz Festival.
Returning to Korea in 2016, he immediately became active in the Korean musicscene, making a name for himself as both a sideman, appearing on Korean TV with Soojin Suh's Chordless Quartet, recording on one of the most acclaimed K-Pop star; Lee Juck’s album, and also spearheaded his own trio, comprised of Sean Drabitt on Bass and Minchan Kim on Drums. In 2018, Daniel Ko's trio recorded and released an album of standards and originals, entitled Sleepless in Seoul, to critical acclaim.
With a firm grounding in bebop and an energetic, freewheeling improvisatory style, Daniel Ko continues to captivate both the Korean as well as the international audience with his blending of traditional styles and a modern approach. Daniel combines virtuosic saxophone technique with an innate sense of musicality, resulting in a saxophone trio that vividly expresses the spirit of the jazz tradition while also incorporating elements from the contemporary worldwide jazz scene, along with the particular flavor of the local Korean jazz scene as well.
Photos credits: Dayoung Lee