East Meets the Rest: Tatsu Aoki's Miyumi Project @ Steppenwolf's Traffic Series, Friday, May 9, 2008

Steppenwolf's 2008 Traffic Series Continues With
Tatsu Aoki's Miyumi Project: East Meets the Rest
Friday, May 9, 2008

Experience The Miyumi Project's 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 in this not to be missed performance!

Tatsu Aoki's Miyumi Project:  East Meets the Rest

CHICAGO (April 1, 2008) - Steppenwolf Theatre Company continues its 2008 Traffic Series with Tatsu Aoki's Miyumi Project: East Meets the Rest - Friday, May 9, 2008 in the Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St.

Chicago avant-garde jazz is fused with taiko drumming from a variety of cultures in an energetic performance by Tatsu Aoki and his band, The Miyumi Project, celebrating a long history of collaboration between African-American and Asian-American jazz artists. Aoki's ensemble is a multi-generational group comprised of Chicago's leading musicians, including Mwata Bowden, Jeff Chan, Jonathan Chen, Amy Homma, Cinatsu Nakano, Yoko Noge, Melody Takata, Joel Wanek, Francis Wong and Hide Yoshihashi. The performance will also feature members of the Japanese American Service Committee's Tsukasa Taiko Youth Program.

A musician, composer and educator, Tatsu Aoki has recorded more than 100 albums featuring many of Chicago's musical legends. He is the founder and artistic director of the Chicago Asian-American Jazz Festival and is an artist-in-residence at the Japanese American Service Committee.

The May 9 performance at Steppenwolf will also mark the official release of Tatsu Aoki's newest recording The Miyumi Project Live in Poland on Chicago label Southport Records. Mr. Aoki and members of the ensemble will be signing copies of the new CD following the performance.

Tatsu Aoki's Miyumi Project:  East Meets the Rest

"Traffic continues Steppenwolf's season-long conversation about what it means to be an American - this time with a decidedly made-in-Chicago focus. Traffic provides a vibrant platform for dialogue between our multi-generational audience and an eclectic pool of artists," comments Director of the Traffic Arts Series, Sylvia Ewing. "Traffic provides the opportunity for Steppenwolf to be a place where people come together for an experience that bridges entertainment and discovery, the familiar and the unknown." Steppenwolf's Traffic Series brings together artists of all disciplines and casts them as storytellers in one night only presentations on the Steppenwolf stage. Traffic provides an intimate and unique intersection of language, lyrics, poetry and music, creating a fresh perspective on expressing the American story.

Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ, 91.5 FM) is planning to re-broadcast the one-night only Traffic events as part of its partnership with Steppenwolf.

Traffic artists stay at The Talbott Hotel, the official hotel of Steppenwolf's Traffic Series.

Steppenwolf is located near all forms of public transportation and is wheelchair accessible. Street and lot parking are available. Assistive listening devices are available for every performance.

Committed to the principle of ensemble performance through the collaboration of a company of actors, directors and playwrights, Steppenwolf Theatre Company's mission is to advance the vitality and diversity of American theater by nurturing artists, encouraging repeatable creative relationships and contributing new works to the national canon. The company, formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, is dedicated to perpetuating an ethic of mutual respect and the development of artists through on-going group work. Steppenwolf has grown into an internationally renowned company of forty-one artists whose talents include acting, directing, playwriting, filmmaking and textual adaptation.

CONTACT: David Rosenberg, (312) 654-5656
Photo : M.Dondajewski @ The Miyumi Project Live in Poland

It was a gamble, but East thrillingly meets West in Miyumi Project

East Meets the Rest: Tatsu Aoki's Miyumi Project
Steppenwolf's Traffic Series, Friday, May 9, 2008

Tatsu Aoki's Miyumi Project:  East Meets the Rest

Chicago Tribune Jazz notes
By Howard Reich, Tribune critic
May 9, 2008

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. [more]

Tatsu Aoki's Miyumi Project at Steppenwolf Theatre

Chicago Tribune
By Howard Reich | Tribune critic
May 12, 2008

Few musicians have fused American jazz and Japanese folklore as dramatically as Chicago bassist/bandleader Tatsu Aoki.

Through his long-running Miyumi Project, Aoki has dared to pair avant-garde instrumentalists with thunderous Japanese taiko drummers, in effect linking two musical traditions otherwise separated by centuries and oceans. The partnership may seem unlikely, but at its best it can be exciting to behold.

The debut of the Miyumi Project on Steppenwolf Theatre's eclectic Traffic series over the weekend attracted a large house, perhaps because listeners anticipated fireworks. [more]