Since 2010, bassist Matthias Akeo Nowak has led KOI trio, who are currently releasing their eponymous debut album. For Nowak, who has worked with bands in various combinations - chamber music duos to jazz piano trios to big bands - the choice of guitar trio was very close to the heart. “The first band I played in was a rock band with a guitarist”, he remembers. “The guitar trio creates more space than a piano trio, space for different paths and possibilities to play and experiment with sounds and atmosphere.”
Through his mother, who died when he was young, he has roots in Japan. This is the origin of his middle name “Akeo”. For Nowak it took some time until he not only realised, but acknowledged these roots as part of his artistic personality. Although KOI trio's improvised music has nothing to do with the musical culture of Japan, the connection with the land of his ancestors reveals an inner spiritual attitude: opposites do not have to be evened but can coexist. It is the attitude of letting things go and letting them happen that characterises the jazz musician Matthias Akeo Nowak.
Born in Berlin and raised in Kassel, Nowak got to know and love the world of improvised music through Gunter Hampel, a multi-instrumentalist from Göttingen, in whose bands Nowak played. After receiving a scholarship in 2008, Nowak spent one year in New York intensifying his studies in jazz. Like the other members of the trio, guitarist Riaz Khabirpour and drummer Oliver Rehmann, he now lives in Cologne, where he has become an important part of the city's innovative and creative jazz scene.
The word KOI originally describes a noble and often very expensive carp from Japan. In this instance Nowak has a much simpler explanation: the first letters of the words “Khabirpour, Oliver und ich (and I)”. With a laconic smile he makes clear that the name also denotes three friends who meet on an equal musical level.
Matthias Akeo Nowak - Bass
Riaz Khabirpour - Gitarre
Oliver Rehmann - Drums