Experience The Miyumi Project's musical journey - Avant-garde jazz fused with traditional taiko drumming in an energetic musical performance by Tatsu Aoki and his featured ensemble. Celebrating a long history of collaboration between African-American and Asian-American jazz artists, the Miyumi Project will showcase the multi-generational talents of some of Chicago's leading musicians Mwata Bowden, Edward Wilkerson, Jaime Kempkers, KIOTO and Coco Elysses.
The Miyumi Project is Aoki’s laboratory of sound, where he explores the nexus of cultures: Asian and American; Japanese and African; past and present. The compositions provide a conceptual design for each band member to interpret, and each successive grouping of Miyumi musicians over the past decade have contributed to the ongoing evolution if the work.
The Miyumi Project features Mwata Bowden, Edward Wilkerson, Jaime Kempers, Jeff Chan, KIOTO and Coco Elysses. Based in Chicago, Aoki is one of the most recorded artists in the Asian American music scene, working in a wide range of musical genres—from jazz to traditional Japanese music.
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