JACOB H. CARRUTHERS FOR INNER CITY STUDIES
Tatsu Aoki is one of the most recorded, talked-about bassists on the Chicago music scene. A prolific artist, composer, musician, educator and a consummate bassist, he works in a wide range of musical styles, ranging from traditional Asian music and jazz, to creative free and experimental music.
Aoki is founder and artistic director of the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival, which debuted in October 1996 and had seven straight successful seasons. Currently national in scope, the annual event is now known as "Asian American Jazz," and has been held in several cities ( San Francisco , San Jose , Philadelphia , Los Angeles and Chicago ). Aoki has over 30 recordings to his name - some solos, duets, trio and larger ensembles. He has appeared as a guest artist on over 70 other albums internationally. With works ranging from solo to larger ensemble, from mainstream to avant garde, Aoki has worked with many musical legends, including Fred Anderson, Von Freeman, George Freeman, Malachi Favors Maghostut, Don Moye, Roscoe Mitchell, John Watson, Sonny Seals, Jon Jang, Francis Wong, Wu Man and Jeff Parker.
Among the variety of works produced in the last 16 years, his solo bass performance and recordings are internationally acclaimed, and known for one of the most innovative approaches of the bass instrument. As a managing producer or producer, Aoki has worked on over 40 AIR albums, including the legendary Max Roach and Jon Jang's "Beijing Trio," (AIR 0044), as well as projects in the hip hop arena, and a number of other projects in the Asian Pacific American arts, such as film and concert series.
Aoki's prolific "ROOTED: Origins of Now," a four-suite, approximately 50-minute piece, featured for its world premiere on August 26, 2001, a 12-piece big band in performance at Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chicago's Chinatown. Subsequent full house performances followed on September 1, 2001 at the Chicago Jazz Fest in Grant Park, and on October 27, 2001 at the Museum of Contemporary Art , as the highlight of Asian American Jazz Festival 2001: Chicago . The piece was presented at the Englewood Jazz Festival in Hamilton Park on September 7, 2002 .
Aoki was named one of 16 inspirational "Chicagoans of the year" by the Chicago Tribune (December 30, 2001.) The Tribune stated that "ROOTED" had "come into its own as an eloquent, often dramatic merger of ancient Japanese music and experimental American jazz." "ROOTED: Origins of Now" the CD (S-SSD 0092, 2001) is a project of The Jazz Institute of Chicago Sound Archive and Recordings, and is available via distributors SOUTHPORT and Asian Improve Records. "ROOTED" and "The MIYUMI Project" (S-SSD-0078, 2000) are important works that carry Aoki's identity, as does "Basser Live" (AIR0046, 1999). Some of the latest to date works are: "A Symphony of Cities" (S-SSD 0096 and AIR, 2002); "TRIO" (MR-0003, 2003) with Robbie Lynn Hunsinger and Joseph Jarman (which the July 2003 issue of "Down Beat Magazine" has given 4 stars); and his newest release, "Posture of Reality" (AIR0065) a duet work with East Coast-based artist Wu Man, who has been internationally recognized as a leading interpreter of contemporary pipa music.
As a producer, the Aoki name is behind a number of other significant projects in the arts, including recordings, film and concert series. Born in Japan the son of artisans, Tatsu Aoki is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he received bachelor and master of fine arts degrees, and where he is currently an associate professor in film.
Tags:Bass, Free Jazz
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