Tatsu Aoki is a bassist and shamisen lute player, composer, musician, and educator. Born in Tokyo, Japan into an artisan family called TOYOAKI MOTO, meaning a booking and training agent for Geisha ladies in downtown Tokyo's designated area, Aoki came to the U.S. in 1977 and studied experimental filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is currently an adjunct Associate Professor at the Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Department, and teaches film production and history courses. He also works in a wide range of musical genres, ranging from traditional Japanese music, jazz, experimental and creative music. Aoki is a leading advocate for Chicago's Asian American community and one of Chicago's most indemand musicians on both contrabass, taiko (Japanese drums) and shamisen (Japanese lute). To date, he has produced more than 60 recording projects and over 30 experimental films. He is one of the most recorded artists in the Chicago music scene and has produced duet works with bassist, Malachi Favors, multi instrumentalists such as Roscoe Mitchell, Don Moye and world renowned Pipa virtuoso, Wu Man and Chicago legend, Fred Anderson. Using taiko drumming as a signature, Aoki's solo bass performance project BASSE LIVE and recordings are known as one of the most innovative approaches to the instrument internationally. Aoki's most important ensemble work, ROOTED: Origins of Now, a 50 minute 4 movement suite, was performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival in September 2001 and was the reason behind the Chicago Tribune recognizing him as a “Chicagoan of the Year.” JAZZIZ Magazine also recognized Aoki as an artist who has changed jazz since 1980. He was awarded the Mile Stone Award in 2007 by the Asian American Institute for his contribution to Chicago area arts and as Executive Director of AIRMW, Aoki has initiated and managed several programs to advance the understanding of Asian American culture andcommunity through the arts, including the Annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival and the JASC Tsukasa Taiko Legacy arts residency project.
This has always been one of the projects I have wanted to finish, but have had a difficult time since it required not only a certain level of commitment from grand masters from Japan but also on the masterly execution ...