Jaka Kopach (Slovenian spelling: Kopač) is recognized as one of the leading jazz alto saxophonists of the younger generation of musicians in Slovenia. He is mostly known for his musical expression, which he compliments with a warm sound and a lot of energy. His playing also reflects in his compositions that are musically both challenging and simple, and carry a certain depth, which he fully establishes in improvisation. This year, Jaka will be releasing his second album called “Present Thoughts” which was recorded in New York with Orrin Evans, Vicente Archer and Willie Jones III.
Jaka began playing alto saxophone at the age of 14 when he was taking lessons with Franc Zupanc who introduced him to the saxophone and jazz music. Later in his youth, he created a career wise important bond with his teacher and mentor Saša Nestorović (e.g. Zagreb Saxophone Quartet) who helped develop Jaka’s dream of becoming a jazz saxophonist even further. Jaka’s talent was quickly noticed at Graz where he was accepted to the University of Music and Dramatic Arts from which he graduated in Karl Heinz Meklin’s class in 2006 and where he was introduced to another important musician in his life, the trumpeter Stjepko Gut.
After graduation, Jaka was invited to study at the Berklee College of Music and granted a scholarship; however, he decided to study at the world-renowned Sibelius Academy where he had been an exchange student the year before. In 2008, Jaka received the 3rd prize at the Jukka Perko International Jazz Saxophone Competition, competing amongst musician from all around Europe. In 2009, he received his Master’s degree in Jazz saxophone. The same year, Jaka released his debut album, with original compositions, called “Almost there” which he recorded with well-established Finnish musicians in Helsinki, Finland.
During his career, Jaka has played in various assemblies and big bands: e.g. at the European Youth Jazz Orchestra, the European Movement Jazz Orchestra, the New York University Big Band, the RTV Big Band Slovenia, HMG Big Band (Zagreb-Graz), The Fool Cool Jazz Orchestra (Slovenia), the Graz Big Band, Sibis Big Band (Helsinki), the Igor Lunder Group (Zagreb Saxophone Quartet) and Outi Tarkiainen Nonet. He has worked on joint projects with the following musicians: Jimmy Owens, Duško Gojković, Boško Petrovič, George Garzone, Lennie Pickett, Danny Grissett, Vicente Archer, Orrin Evans, Willie Jones III, etc. Jaka has also performed at important European jazz clubs, like UMO Jazz club, Storyville (Helsinki), Jazz House (Copenhagen), Porgy & Bess (Vienna), Birdland (Vienna), Blue Note (Milano). In addition to this, Jaka has given concerts as a member of various assemblies in countries such as China, Portugal, France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Estonia, Croatia, Serbia, Finland, Denmark, UK, Italy, Bosnia, Sweden, U.S.A., Bonaire, etc.