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fri06nov7:00 pm9:00 pm25th Anniversary of Chicago Asian American Jazz FestivalStreaming Live

Event Details

25th Anniversary of Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival (CAAJF)

November 6-7, 2020 | 7:00 PM | stream.airmw.org 

Come and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival featuring 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 produce an improvisational experience unlike any other.

This critically acclaimed annual event 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.


Friday, November 6, 2020 Artist Line-up

SET 1: JEFF CHAN

Chicago multi-instrumentalist/composer Jeff Chan is dedicated to advancing the understanding of the Asian American experience through music.  He has worked with many of the leaders of the Asian American creative music movement, including saxophonist Francis Wong and bassist Tatsu Aoki as well as some of the top figures in the Chicago music scene such as saxophonists Jimmy Ellis, Ari Brown, Mwata Bowden and Edward Wilkerson Jr., trumpeter Ameen Muhammad, drummer Avreeayl Ra and pianist/vocalist/bandleader Yoko Noge. With a discography of more than 10 recordings as a leader, sideman and producer, Chan has performed extensively in the Chicago area, across the nation and in Europe. Critics have said that Chan is “… a voice to be reckoned with… (Brian Gilmore, JazzTimes)” and that his work is “music of uncommon majesty, spirituality and emotional depth (Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune).”


SET 2: CHROMIC DUO

Chromic is an award-winning toy piano duo that brings new audiences together by creating new connections between classical music, electronics, and multimedia. Trained in piano, percussion, and contemporary practice, Chromic pushes the possibilities of genres and performance by reimagining canonical works, creating playful arrangements and commissioning new works that are transposable through digital and physical spaces. They are Dorothy Chan and Lucy Yao and are found at https://chromic.space.


SET 3: JASON FINKELMAN’S KUROSHIO  ALBUM RELEASE PERFORMANCE

Kuroshio is the continuous flow of creative spirit expressed by an ever-evolving ensemble of improvising artists of Asian descent who explore and contemplate notions of identity, culture and diasporic histories through multilayered channels of sound and performance.

The eponymous debut documents an incredibly distinct intersectional moment among three electro-acoustic musicians drawing from a rich current of avant-garde artistic practice. Featured on the recording are Shu-Cheng Allen Wu unraveling sonic samples through his masterful LinnStrument control, pianist Joy Yang who doubles on theremin, and Jason Finkelman on acoustic percussion and laptop electronics.

Allen Wu returned home to Taipei, Taiwan soon after our recording session.

Nathan Wells (violin and electronics) joins Joy Yang and Jason Finkelman as the newest member of Kuroshio for the 2020 Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival.

Bio

Jason Finkelman Focus on cross-cultural, improvised music led percussionist Jason Finkelman to
combine laptop electronics and acoustic instrumentation to create his distinct ambient, avant-world sound. A specialist on the single string musical bow berimbau, Finkelman is a Philadelphia-born percussionist who performs on African and Brazilian instruments handcrafted by Adimu Kuumba. His roots in improvised music stem from founding the trio Straylight in 1992, leading to collaborative performances in the late 90’s with a wide spectrum of artists including Pauline Oliveros, Steve Gorn, Joe McPhee, Brian Ritchie, and others in the Straylight Dialogues series at the Knitting Factory in New York City. Since arriving in Urbana-Champaign in 2000, Finkelman has continually performed with a host of genre-blurring improvisers from the area and beyond. As a composer for dance, Finkelman has over twenty-three years of collaboration with choreographer Cynthia Oliver on works including Tether (2019), Virago-Man Dem (2017-18), BOOM! (2014-15) and “Bessie” award winning performances SHEMAD (2000) and Death’s Door (1996). He has also composed works for choreographers Renée Wadleigh, Kirstie Simson, Jessica Cornish, Nico Brown, Renée Archibald, Jessie Young, and Nickels Sunshine. At the University of Illinois, Finkelman directs Global Arts Performance Initiatives at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, providing a wide range of engagement programming featuring international music, avant-garde jazz, and documentary film on contemporary Asia. Finkelman’s most recent campus initiative is Improvisers Exchange, both a performance ensemble and series of concerts and workshops broadly exploring the genre of improvised music.

Joy Yang’s continual pursuit of pushing boundaries in genres and developing a unique voice has influenced her interest in multidisciplinary improvisation. Whilst Joy has been playing Classical piano since the age of four, her undergraduate studies in BMusic/BEducation (Sydney, Australia) with Alister Spence and Sandy Evans opened up a world of jazz and improvisation. She has also worked closely with mentors: Satoko Fujii, Neta Maughan AM, Tamara-Anna Cislowska, Dr. Adam Hulbert, Nicky Crasyon, Eric Chapus, and Lamont Holden. In Sidney, Joy is pianist, thereminist and composer in Valkyrie Trio, an all-female jazz trio with an upcoming album release, and has curated experimental shows in featuring her multidisciplinary group, ViolaMPFREE with live dance, projection mapping, spoken word and digital painting. Currently earning an MMusic in piano performance and literature at the University of Illinois, Joy studies with Dr. Rochelle Sennet and Chip Stephens (jazz piano), performing in classical ensemble settings, as well as in collaboration with modern piano composers. Joy also performs in Urbana Champaign with jazz combos, local hip-hop artists, and Dr. Rudolf Haken, and contributes as an executive board member of UIUC’s Electronic Music Club. Joy is pleased to be pursuing collaborative work celebrating strands of diversity in sound, experience and culture that may fuse into a unified project enhancing mutual human understanding and empathy.

Nathan Wells honors a thirty-three year relationship with his violin, which began as a classical performance violinist pupil under Miss Terrine Gomez, founder of the Young Artist’s Studio, and further instruction under Clara Roland, Sherban Lupu, and Ian Hobson during their tenures at the University of Illinois through 1998. Wells has since engaged sonic expressions in blues, folk, ambient, industrial and otherwise non-identified experimental electro-acoustic musical forms and has programmed opening performances for Chris Carter and Cosey Fanny Tutti of Throbbing Gristle. He keeps a bonding mentor friendship with, Jamal Moss, founder of Mathematics Recordings for which Nathan lends an ear for Artists and Repertoire selections. His elements for sound creation are samplers capturing live voice, violin, modular synthesis, AM radio signal, field recordings, and Hammond Organ. For Wells sonic resonance through improvisation is a means to possess and empower air — one true form of freedom that will change circumstances only the listener will realize.

Fulbright scholar, Shu-Cheng Allen Wu holds a DMA degree in music theory and composition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Allen’s research interests include contemporary music composition, electronic music, algorithmic music composition, programming, music information retrieval, and live coding. He has composed and produced music for animations, short films and games, and has conducted various ensembles including choirs, theater, chamber music, wind orchestra, and Chinese instrumentation. In the Wu-Morse Duo, Allen developed his strategies for utilizing a LinnStrument controller with laptop electronics for improvisation. Allen was a full time assistant professor at the Asia-Pacific Institute of Creativity and a lecturer at Tamkang University and Chaoyang University of Technology where he taught electronic music engineering and composition, multimedia art, art history, creativity, aesthetics, film music production for non-music majors, and more. During his DMA studies, he taught music theory, aural skills and electroacoustic music techniques.


Visit aajazz.org for more information about CAAJF.

Time

(Friday) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm CST

sat07nov7:00 pm9:00 pm25th Anniversary of Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival (Copy)Streaming Live

Event Details

25th Anniversary of Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival (CAAJF)

November 6-7, 2020 | 7:00 PM | stream.airmw.org 

Come and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival featuring 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 produce an improvisational experience unlike any other.

This critically acclaimed annual event 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.

Saturday, November 7, 2020 Artist Line-up

SET 1: JONATHAN CHEN, TATSU AOKI, JAMIE KEMPKERS, AND JULIA MILLER

Traversing the Perimeter consists of improvisations for musicians, video, and computer, exploring aesthetic impressions of altering and traversing perimeters. While not overtly political, the work seeks to treat a perimeter as both a boundary to and a facilitator of different kinds of agency. The video content is based on the idea of ‘perimeter’ not as a conceptual focal point, but rather as the basis for gestures of improvisation and development. ‘Traversing’ these notions of perimeter is the task of the musicians as they variously alter the continuum of the video performance through an interactive Max/MSP/Jitter patch.

The work is performed tonight by Tatsu Aoki, bass; Jamie Kempkers, cello; Julia Miller, electric guitar; Jonathan Chen, violin.

Support for this project was provided by a PSC-CUNY Award, jointly funded by The Professional Staff Congress and The City University of New York.


SET 2: KUROKAMI E{m}urge featuring Yoshinojo Fujima, Hekiun Oda, Tatsu Aoki, and Dawei Wang

High Concept Labs Fellow Yoshinojo Fujima ( aka Rika Lin) presents Kurokami E{m}urge, an original dance/calligraphy/music collaboration presenting a study of traditional Japanese performance.

Dancemaker Yoshinojo joins with Chicago’s premier Japanese Calligrapher, Grandmaster Hekiun Oda, along with the creative music entwinings of Ozashiki shamisen player Toyoaki Sanjuro (aka Tatsu Aoki), and the soundscapes of texture guitarist Dawei Wang, to encapsulate the evocation of longing thoughts and fleeting, gritty whim for an alternative take on the Nagauta piece “Kurokami” (Black Hair).


Visit aajazz.org for more information about CAAJF.

Time

(Saturday) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm CST

fri13nov7:00 pm9:00 pmKioto Aoki & The Reduction TrioExperimental Sound Studio - The Quarantine Concerts

Event Details

Friday, November 13, 2020

Kioto Aoki & Tatsu Aoki’s Reduction Trio featuring Jamie Kempkers

A live performance by Asian Improv aRts Midwest (AIRMW) artists that contextualizes taiko within traditional, modern and contemporary applications. The evening opens with Kioto Aoki’s solo taiko presentation followed by a Toyoakimoto duet (Tatsu Aoki & Kioto Aoki) and closes with Tatsu Aoki’s Reduction Trio featuring Jamie Kempkers.

Full event info here.

This event is a part of the Experimental Sound Studio’s The Quarantine Concerts series.

Time

(Friday) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm CDT

fri13nov7:00 pmBridge Dance Festival 2020Day 1

Event Details

The individual is in a continuous flux. The fluid, dynamic state of being that is shaped by variable experiences is surrounded by culture and aesthetics. This is presented in a visible, observable release and transference known as “dance.” The Bridge…is the individual.

Bridge Dance Festival Curator Fujima Yoshinojo (Rika Lin) returns to Links Hall with a spectrum of dancers who encompass a connection to their Asian heritage. The Bridge Dance Festival 2020 brings together four dancemakers and presents their reactionary state of being.

It’s free to watch. Any donation you make (suggested: $15-$20) is greatly appreciated. Get your “tickets” ahead of time to support Bridge Dance Festival, or donate during the stream!

Click HERE for access to Friday’s Youtube

The artists of the 2020 Bridge Dance Festival include: Mari Fujihira, Irene Hsiao, Ayako Kato, and Mandarakoyomi Thinking–Masayuki Sumi (dancer) and Shunichiro Hisada (musician)

Time

(Friday) 7:00 pm

Location

Links Hall, 3111 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60618, USA

Links Hall, 3111 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60618, USA

sat14nov7:00 pmBridge Dance Festival 2020Day 2

Event Details

The individual is in a continuous flux. The fluid, dynamic state of being that is shaped by variable experiences is surrounded by culture and aesthetics. This is presented in a visible, observable release and transference known as “dance.” The Bridge…is the individual.

Bridge Dance Festival Curator Fujima Yoshinojo (Rika Lin) returns to Links Hall with a spectrum of dancers who encompass a connection to their Asian heritage. The Bridge Dance Festival 2020 brings together four dancemakers and presents their reactionary state of being.

It’s free to watch. Any donation you make (suggested: $15-$20) is greatly appreciated. Get your “tickets” ahead of time to support Bridge Dance Festival, or donate during the stream!

Click HERE for access to Saturday’s Youtube Livestream

The artists of the 2020 Bridge Dance Festival include: Mari Fujihira, Irene Hsiao, Ayako Kato, and Mandarakoyomi Thinking–Masayuki Sumi (dancer) and Shunichiro Hisada (musician)

Time

(Saturday) 7:00 pm

sat14nov8:00 pm9:30 pmBest of The MIYUMI Project: Album Release ConcertStreaming Live from Constellation Chicago

Event Details

8:00pm // $20 suggested livestream donation

MIYUMI Project marks its 25-year history this November with the release of Best of the MIYUMI Project.

This concert will be livestreamed on Constellation Chicago’s Youtube channel. Please support the artists by purchasing a donation-based ticket if you are watching at home.

The MIYUMI Project is one of the longest standing amalgams, drawing upon the aesthetics of Japanese traditional music and Chicago’s creative jazz and experimental music scene. MIYUMI Project marks its 25-year history this November with the release of Best of the MIYUMI Project, a double-LP collection on FPE Records, and their first time on vinyl. Tatsu Aoki will be joined by Mwata Bowden, Coco Elysses, Jamie Kempkers, and Kioto Aoki, for this streamed concert to celebrate the album release.


Best of The MIYUMI Project – a double LP / double CD retrospective including previously unreleased material, available from FPErecords.com.

Place your pre-order today!


2020 has been a memorable, if nightmarish, year thus far. Though COVID-19 has turned our world upside down and made what we once took for granted as “normalcy” a long distant memory, there’s also been the Black Lives Matter movement which has gained a strong foothold in our collective consciousness through demonstrations demanding equal, fair treatment – and justice. The global #BLM protests have uniquely united Americans and citizens of the world in a way that music and few other causes or activities have in the past.

One of 2020’s more notable accomplishments to happily reflect upon (we all could use some good news these days!) is the 20th anniversary of Japan-born bassist Tatsu Aoki’s The MIYUMI Project, one of the first Asian American / African American collaborative music projects which fuses the Japanese taiko drumming tradition with first class improvisers (many to most heralding from Chicago, where Aoki has been based since the late ‘70s). The group’s eponymously titled The MIYUMI Project was released two decades ago and has since forged a very special Afro-Asian musical hybrid. And to celebrate and commemorate this trailblazing (and still active) band, FPE Records will release Best of the MIYUMI Project, a double album of cherry-picked outstanding selections from the band’s vast discography as well as a live bonus track of previously unreleased material.

Creative music has historically always provided a platform for uniting its participants, not only relying on but encouraging individuals with unique backgrounds and disparate traditions. It is in essence a universal language where everyone involved can communicate, have constructive discourse and be on equal footing. Witnessing the spontaneous dialogue of a group of musicians creating on the spot is quite literally the democratic concept and process in action. Jazz has seen various distinct developments, fusions of different traditions, over the course of its history. From jazz’ Bossa Nova phase, based on American jazz and Brazilian music (e.g. Charlie Byrd, Laurindo Almeida, Stan Getz, Antonio Carlos Jobim, et al.), to the Jazz/Rock fusion era which incorporated rock’s electric instruments, amplifiers and rhythms with jazz improvisation (e.g. Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew era) – jazz has always had an open mind with open ears.

During the ‘70s Aoki was an underground Tokyo experimental artist interested in the American avant garde and influenced by a fascinating cross-section of bassists – from Charles Mingus and the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s Malachi Favors, to rock ‘n rollers such as Kenny Gradney (Little Feat), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) and Dee Murray (Elton John). Moving to the U.S. from his native Japan in 1977, eventually to Chicago in 1979, he would work extensively with Windy City tenor saxophone legend Fred Anderson. In 1997 Aoki’s collaboration in the Power Trio (At Unity Temple, Asian Improv) with two members of the lauded AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) – woodwind specialist Mwata Bowden (one of Aoki’s longest musical associations) and drummer/percussionist Afifi Phillard (Sun Ra alumnus and Aoki mentor) – marked the unofficial inception of his MIYUMI concept.

The MIYUMI Project was named after the bassist’s third child. “Every time my kid was born, I made an album for each of them,” said Aoki, “but when Miyumi was born, instead of producing an album for her, I named the whole band after her because you know how immigrant families come to America and you sort of have this identity debate about who you are: the longer you stay you become an American, and eventually – in my case – you become Asian-American. By the time she was born I realized my family was now post-war immigrant Japanese American / Asian American. So to commemorate that awakening and awareness I named the whole band with this concept.” From the group’s first album the taiko drumming influence was an undeniable element, Aoki infusing Japanese-influenced aesthetics of accompaniment within the rhythm section, carrying his concept of time into, through and underneath the music as an essential and, as importantly, natural thread. An integral part of his rhythm section, Aoki as bassist has shown empathy towards the drum traditions of Japanese taiko and jazz, and his music and approach incorporates the drummer languages of each. Best of the MIYUMI Project reminds us that even as our society seems to be falling apart at the seams, there are those who have been tirelessly putting in the work to knit it all together.

Best of the MIYUMI Project will be available November 20, 2020 in deluxe gatefold double LP, double CD, or digital editions.

-from FPE Records official website. 

Time

(Saturday) 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm CST

sun29nov7:00 pmAIRMW Livestream: Episode 10Community Annex

Event Details

AIRMW Livestream: Episode 10
Community Annex
Sunday, November 29, 2020
7:00 PM CST

STREAM.AIRMW.ORG

Join us for the tenth installment of AIRMW Livestream featuring our community group and guest artists from the global AIRMW network. Performances and presentation by Mikoren, the first Awaodori dance group established in Chicago, internationally acclaimed Kabuki artist Sennosuke Wakatsuki (Japan), Japanese classical dancer Mizuki Kazume (Chicago/Tokyo), and taiko artist Kenny Endo (Hawai’i).


Mikoren

Mikoren is the first Awaodori Dancing Group in the Chicago area. Since its inception in 2015, Mikoren has performed at countless cultural events around Chicagoland. MIKO means beautiful lake, and REN indicates the official division of a traditional Awaodori group. There are over 20 active dancers with various backgrounds in the group. Mikoren’s mission is to create interest and awareness of Awaodori, a specific dance style rooted in Tokushima prefecture that is celebrated as a 400-year-old traditional Japanese performing artform. Awaodori Festival in Tokushima is the largest dance festival in Japan that attracts more than 1.3 million visitors a year.


Sennosuke Wakatsuki 

Sennosuke Wakatsuki is an active kabuki dancer, performer, and educator who upholds the iemoto headmaster title of his family lineage (Wakatsuki-style performance arts clan). He leads his very own Kabuki theatre company Kikakuya, serves as professor at Josai International University, and a professor of kabuki dance and fight demonstrations at the Wakatsuki school. His goal is to serve as a traditional Japanese performance artist that can realize his art form anywhere in the world, completing up to 200 public presentations a year within and outside of Japan. Wakatsuki is also a purveyor of kabuki arts in modern applications, including an appearance in an upcoming Hollywood film production and choreographing and performing at NHK Kôhaku, Japan’s biggest, nationally televised music show. Wakatsuki also speaks and presents up to 30+ times a year as an educator and ambassador of traditional performing arts at many schools in Japan and abroad. Wakatsuki has performed in Germany, Spain, Denmark, France, Equator, Argentina, USA, Malaysia, Dubai, etc.


Kazume Mizuki

Sally Suzuki (stage name: Kazume Mizuki) is a member of the Japan Dance Association. She began dancing in Japan at the age of 3 at the Mizuki Dance School, one of the oldest Dance Schools in Japan, dating to the 18th century. After a very successful career in Japan, performing in such large venues such as the National Theater, she moved to Chicago in 1993. She currently performs widely in Chicago & Midwest area in US as well as her hometown Tokyo, Japan.


Kenny Endo

One of the leading personas in contemporary percussion and rhythm, KENNY ENDO is at the vanguard of the taiko genre, continuing to explore new possibilities for this ancient Japanese instrument.  A performer, composer, and teacher of taiko, he has received numerous awards, accolades, and a “natori,” (stage name in classical drumming). Kenny is a consummate artist, blending taiko with original music through collaborations with international artists. Kenny is proud to perform on taiko provided courtesy of Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten. Portrait by Toyo Miyatake Studio.

Time

(Sunday) 7:00 pm CST

Location

stream.airmw.org

 

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Asian Improv aRts Midwest is supported in part by The Illinois Arts Council Agency, The MacArthur Funds for Culture, Equity, and the Arts at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Alphawood Foundation, CDH. P.C, JCCC Foundation, Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), and The Joyce Foundation.