Tatsu Aoki and Miyumi Project's re: ROOTED

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Performing Arts

May 200612

Margate Park Field House
4921 N. Marine Drive

Chicago, Illinois
United States

JazzCity premieres Tatsu Aoki and Miyumi Project's
with special guests Jon Jang and Francis Wong

What do Korean rock drummers, Japanese Taiko drummers, Chinese folk singers, and African-American jazz musicians have in common? The drum, as it turns out, unites them all. Tatsu Aoki's re: Rooted project is the culmination of a community based project exploring Asian identity and cultural integration in three different communities. Marrying traditional and unconventional musical instruments and forms, re:Rooted also blends the unique perspectives of older and younger generations of musicians. Pianist Jon Jang and saxophonist Francis Wong will bring new perspectives to the project.

Tatsu Aoki is a fixture in the Chicago jazz scene, and he has organized, curated, and produced its Asian American Jazz Festival since its inception. He is also an Issei-a Japanese immigrant-who self-identifies as Asian American.

Aoki's long-term involvement in the Asian American creative improvisation scene is well known, but his more recent work with his band, The Miyumi Project suggests that the interface between the 'traditional' and the 'experimental' can create new forms of community-based transnational performance. Aoki's achievements as a soloist notwithstanding, he has also created a body of music with an astounding variety of collaborators representing the stalwarts of Chicago's creative jazz traditions including Fred Anderson, Von Freeman, Afifi Phillard, Mwata Bowden and Hamid Drake, all the while maintaining his foothold in the rhythm & blues community with Elijah Levi and Yoko Noge re: Rooted is a return to the composition the Jazz Institute commissioned Aoki to write in 2001. Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune called it "an eloquent, often dramatic merger of ancient Japanese music and experimental American jazz." Aoki has written, "Who we are is what we sound like, and what we sound like is who we are." This year Aoki returns to the theme with new ideas and new players to help him express what is really a unique new form of the music: Asian American jazz.

Jon Jang has broken barriers and genres as a composer, pianist and artistic director of ensembles in developing original works noted for their compelling mix of different influences and sounds. Jang and James Newton were commissioned to compose Cantata for Paul Robeson and Mei Manfang, a work which features an African American baritone, Chinese soprano, jazz quartet, chamber music ensemble and African and Chinese instrumentation. As the artistic director and pianist of the Pan Asian Arkestra and the Jon Jang Sextet, which features David Murray and Chen Jiebing, Mr. Jang's ensembles have toured at major jazz festivals and concerts in South Africa, Europe, Canada and the United States. He has also collaborated and performed with Max Roach and Sonia Sanchez, among many others.

Francis Wong has been a performer on the saxophone and the flute for the past 20 years and a composer for the past 16 years. As a saxophonist, he is recognized as carrying on the legacy of that instrument in American music, owing a particular debt to the work of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and the contemporary master, David Murray. In addition to the African American masters, he is inspired by the late Native American saxophonist Jim Pepper and the respected Persian American saxophonist and scholar Hafez Modirzadeh.

The full composition will be performed on July 27th as part of a new series co-programmed by the Jazz Institute and Millennium Park called Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz. The 8-concert series will highlight the ways in which the Chicago music scene continues to influence musicians from around the globe. This summer series will explore the Chicago jazz community and the connections it has created throughout the world.

The JazzCity series is an innovative music education series that traces the evolution of Swing, Bebop, Latin-Jazz and Free-Jazz, highlighting Chicago's rich historical jazz legacy with legendary local musicians. Several programs travel citywide-repeating the themes of Bebop Brass, Saxophone Summit, Big Band/Big Dance and Sonidos Calientes (Hot Sounds), with a different roster of performers presenting their interpretations of the themes at each park. Through oral history, workshops and concerts, JazzCity reconnects Chicago's communities to their own jazz history and America's own art form.

All programs are free and open to the public - seating may be limited. For more information, please call 312/427-1676.

The Chicago Jazz and Heritage Program is a program of the Chicago Park District and the Jazz Institute of Chicago.
The Jazz Institute is supported by
The Alphawood Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; a CityArts grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, The Benjamin Rosenthal Foundation, The Polk Bros. Foundation, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard Driehaus Foundation.



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D_Burns . Last modified Jul 09, 2010 12:11 p.m.

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