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Of the wholly American art forms-jazz, cowboy movies, and fast food-jazz seems to have generated the most controversy as to its origins. Many believe jazz was given to the pilgrims by native Americans that first Thanksgiving during the halftime show. I hold to the theory that jazz came from New Orleans at the confluence of European, African and Caribbean cultures. From Buddy Bolden to Louis Armstrong’s migration to Chicago, jazz grew from the popular music of the day and ethnic groups that adopted it. From Coltrane improvising on “My Favorite Things” to Miles Davis covering Michael Jackson and free jazz guitarist Derek Bailey improvising over electronic drum n’ bass, jazz has had the ability to digest sounds and return them to us with that certain swing.
In Chicago (as well as on the West Coast) jazz has felt the influence of the Asian community. From Fred Ho’s Afro-Asian Music Ensemble to pianist John Jang, jazz has spread her accepting arms even wider. One of the hottest bassists working in Chicago is Tatsu Aoki. His resume includes Fred Anderson (reviewed this month), the Grammy nominated Asian American Jazz Orchestra, and several critically acclaimed solo bass records.
Aoki’s Miyumi Project, named after his daughter, brings together the distinct music of the East in the forms of Japanese drums – taiko and shime, Korean drums – Buk, and mixed them with his own jazz bass, and AACM musician Mwata Bowden. Aoki’s vision was to create sounds that borrow from the traditional drumming of Asia spiced by African, Latin and European sounds. The Taiko drumming beats (and I mean beats) a macho time in a very regular pattern. Over this very physical sound, Mwata Bowden (8 Bold Souls) improvises his large baritone saxophone. The effect is similar to fellow Chicago percussionist Kahil El Zabar’s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, except the beat is from the East. Double reedist Robbie Hunsinger to add a call and response joins Bowden’s saxophone and clarinet. He even picks up a digeridoo on "Early Dance” pushing the recording to an entire world music. Most songs state a simple pattern for the reeds or Aoki’s bass to improvise over. This engaging approach comes directly from the heart and soul of a true innovator of jazz.
Track List:Movement; Kurodabushi; River; Color Coordination; Early Dance; Floating Weeds; Ink Erasers; Fast Ride; Apology.
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com