The MIYUMI Project Big Band: “Trans-Rooted”
featuring JASC Tsukasa Taiko
Tatsu Aoki's Miyumi Project Big Band: Transrooted: from YouTube uploaded byJA77BO. Performed at Margate Park in Chicago on Nov 12, 2010 part of Jazz Institute of Chicago's JazzCity program and 15th Anniversary Asian American Jazz Festival. Transrooted was commissioned by the Jazz institute of Chicago featuring Edward Wilkerson, Jeff Chan, Mai Sugimoto on saxophones, Renee Baker, Jonathan Chen, violins, Amy Homma, Kioto Aoki, Noriko Sugiyama, taiko drums, Jun Takanarita, drum set, Eigen Aoki, bass and members to JASC Tsukasa Taiko. Composed and conducted buy Tatsu Aoki.
The third installment of a project we began with Japanese bassist Tatsu Aoki in 2001 continues to explore the nexus of the past and present of Japanese, Chinese and African cultures through the layering of traditional Asian instrumentation and rhythms with the global language of jazz.
Tokyo’s loss, Chicago’s gain. Tatsu Aoki left his native Japan in 1977, at the age of 20, to study experimental filmmaking at the Art Institute of Chicago (and he currently teaches film production and history at the school). But along the way, this indefatigable musician and arts organizer has established himself among the city’s most fluent and adventurous jazz bassists.
The prime vehicle for Aoki’s connection with his heritage remains his Miyumi Big Band. Aoki formed this continually evolving ensemble in 2001 to perform the symphonic-length Rooted: Origins Of Now, which premiered at that year’s Chicago Jazz Festival. Five years later, he revisited that composition’s themes of cultural inheritance, alienation, and synthesis in Re:ROOTED, which debuted as part of the “Made In Chicago” series at Millennium Park. Now the Jazz Festival presents the third installment of this series, Trans-Rooted, in its debut performance, featuring saxophonists Mwata Bowden, Jeff Chan, Ed Wilkerson, and Francis Wong; violinists Jonathan Chen and Renee Baker; drummer Dushun Mosley; and taiko drummers Kioto Aoki, Amy Homma, and Noriko Sugiyama, all members of Tsukasa Taiko, the Chicago-based Japanese drumming ensemble.
Sunday, September 25, 2011 at 1pm
Hyde Park Jazz Festival
at University of Chicago, International House
I've had the pleasure and the honor of watching and listening to this diverse group of musicians evolve over the past seven years; having commissioned Tatsu Aoki's Rooted: Origins of Now in 2001 and re:Rooted in 2006 through the Jazz Institute of Chicago. His conceptual framework is about exploring the nexus of cultures; Asian and American, Chinese, Japanese and African, past and present. His compositions provide a construct of ideas for each individual musician to interpret, and each successive grouping of Miyumi musicians have contributed new understandings of the fundamental nature of the work.
Lauren Deutsch, 2008
Executive Director, Jazz Institute of Chicago
More than 30 years ago, bassist-bandleader Tatsu Aoki took an artistic gamble: He began combining facets of ancient Japanese music with freewheeling jazz improvisation.
Though rudimentary, those first cross-genre efforts of his, in his native Japan, eventually blossomed into the Miyumi Project, now widely recognized as a groundbreaking merger of music from East and West.
Because Aoki moved to Chicago in the late 1970s and quickly set about developing his Asian-American experiment, the Miyumi Project has become a symbol of Chicago-style jazz innovation. Its rough-and-tumble sound, embracing everything from funk backbeats to blues vocals to avant-garde improv, has attracted audiences across the city and around the globe.
Howard Reich, 2008