Tatsu Aoki: Amplifying a Necessary Space (discussion & concert)
Amplifying a Necessary Space: Sounding Out 20 Years of Chicago's Asian American Jazz Festival
5:30 / Discussion and oral history workshop with Tatsu Aoki (Asian Improv Arts Midwest) and Mwata Bowden (AACM)
6:30p / Concert featuring Tatsu Aoki's Miyumi Project
Tatsu Aoki is the founding organizer of the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival, whose exploration of jazz experimentalism and Japanese American Taiko drumming traditions provides an example of the various strategies musicians employ as they navigate experiences of migration, the politics of identity in the contemporary United States, and the poetics and pragmatics of improvisation and collaboration within and across multiple musical and cultural traditions.
Presented in conjunction with the 20th Annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival and The Chicago Studies Community Research Series at the University of Chicago.
For more information, please contact Mike Schuh, Gray Center Program Coordinator.
About Tatsu Aoki
Tatsu Aoki is a prolific artist, composer, musician, educator and a consummate bassist and Shamisen Lute player. Based in Chicago, Aoki works in a wide range of musical genres, ranging from traditional Japanese music, jazz, experimental and creative music.
Aoki was born in 1957 in Tokyo, and was an active performer during the early 70’s in the mist of the Tokyo Underground Arts movement. He became a member of the Japanese Experimental Music ensemble GINTENKAI, which presented a mixture of traditional music and new western music. After coming to the US in 1977, Aoki studied experimental filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently an adjunct Full Professor in the Film, Video and New Media Department. During the late 80’s, Aoki became a leading advocate for Chicago's Asian American community and one of Chicago's most in-demand musicians on both contrabass, taiko (Japanese drums) and shamisen (Japanese lute).
To date, Aoki has produced and appeared in more than 90 recording projects and over 30 experimental films. He is one of the most recorded artists in the Chicago music scene. Among his many recordings, he has worked with bassist Malachi Favors, multi-instrumentalist Roscoe Mitchell and Don Moye, and the world-renowned Pipa virtuoso Wu Man, as well as the late Fred Anderson.
Using Taiko drumming as a signature, Aoki’s solo bass performance project BASSE LIVE and recordings are known internationally for one of the most innovative approaches to the instrument.
For his contribution to Chicago-area arts, Aoki has received the Asian American Institute's Mile Stone Award (2007) and the Japan America Society of Chicago's Cultural Achievement Award (2010). He is also a recipient of the 3Arts Artist Award (2010).
As an Executive Director of AIRMW, Aoki has initiated and managed several programs to advance the understanding of Asian American culture and community through the arts, including the Annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival and the Tsukasa Taiko Legacy arts residency project. His work as an artist and educator in the cultural arts and as a leader in the Asian American community address as well as define the issues facing the community, including the need for quality artistic programs that reflect the Asian American experience.