Saturday October 7 | 9:00 pm11:55 pm
2017 Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival (CAAJF)$10Continuing this critically acclaimed annual event, CAAJF is an essential cornerstone for highlighting and documenting the significant role that Asian Americans and their collaborators have in contributing to the city's historic and vibrant musical landscape. Come and celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival (CAAJF) www.aajazz.org. The CAAJF features the finest in contemporary Asian American music. Curated by Asian Improv aRts Midwest, national and internationally acclaimed Asian American artists and their collaborators weave together their collective flair to create an improvisational experience.
Jonathan Chen and Tatsu Aoki, combine to form their eclectic duo for the opening set of the final day of the CAAJF.
Asian American Experimentalism
is the event that extrapolates the unique concept experience created during Tatsu
Aoki’s collaboration with the Jonathan Chen Orchestra. It is an electro-acoustic
soundscape distilled from the reality of the Asian-American existence.
Composer, improviser, and sound artist, Jonathan Chen, creates work through
either conceptual foci or through experimentation with materials. His work for
electronics often consist of thick layers of fluctuating sounds produced through
multiple feedback systems, and at other times a more simple approach such as his
installation Amplified (2010), which only involves the light amplification of a
person’s voice. As a violinist and violist his improvisational work often emphasizes
timbre rather than pitch, either drawing from a wide palette, or honing in on a
single sound. Chen has a PhD in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute, Troy, New York; a Master of Arts in Music Composition from Wesleyan
University, Middletown, CT; and a Master of Music in Violin Performance from
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. His work has been published by Leonardo
Music Journal (MIT Press), the Deep Listening Institute, Asian Improv Records,
Interval, and Striking Mechanism, among others.
Tatsu Aoki is a leading advocate for the Asian American community, as well as a
prolific composer and performer of traditional and experimental music forms, a
filmmaker, and an educator. Born in Tokyo, 1957 into the Toyoakimoto artisan
family, a traditional house for training and booking agents for geisha. Aoki was part
of his family’s performance crew from the age of four. In the late 1960s, he shifted
his energies from the traditional to American pop and experimental music. By the
early 1970s, Aoki was active in Tokyo’s underground arts movement as a member of
Gintenkai, an experimental ensemble that combined traditional music and new
In 1977, Aoki left Tokyo and is now one of the most in-demand performers of bass,
shamisen, and taiko, contributing more than ninety recording projects and touring
internationally during the last thirty-five years. Aoki is the Founder and Artistic
Director of Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival.
Counter point to Strings and Electronics, the evening is rounded off with Metal
Wind Instrumentalists: Ari Brown, Ed Wilkerson, Jeff Chan, and Mai Sugimoto
Versatility has characterized the career of Ari Brown, is a multi-reedist and pianist,
whose technique and traditional jazz chops are highly expressive across his
instruments, and a dynamic and important member of the Chicago avant-garde jazz
scene. Brown has performed all over the world, touring with Elvin Jones, and
working with such musicians as McCoy Tyner, Don Patterson, Sonny Stitt, Lester
Bowie, Bobby Watson, and Anthony Braxton. He has been part of Kahil El’Zabar’s
Ritual Trio and is the go-to saxophonist for Orbert Davis’s Chicago Jazz
Edward Wilkerson Jr. is an internationally recognized jazz musician, composer,
arranger, and educator based in Chicago. As founder and director of the octet 8 Bold
Souls and the twenty-five- member ensemble Shadow Vignettes, Wilkerson has
toured festivals and concert halls throughout the US, Europe, Japan, and the Middle
Jeff Chan is dedicated to advancing the understanding of the Asian American
experience through music and has worked with many of the leaders of the Asian
American creative music movement. As a composer, Chan has created works for
varied and diverse ensembles, from solo instruments to large ensembles, including a
musical score for modern dance company Facing East Dance and Music.
Mai Sugimoto is a Japanese born saxophonist and composer. She performs
frequently throughout the Chicagoland area and is a member of Hanami, a quartet that features her original work and arrangements of Japanese music.