“2015 Jazz Hero”
• Tatsu Aoki was honored by the Jazz Journalist Association and named “2015 Jazz Hero”. Aoki became one of 24 award recipients across the U.S. He was also named as “2015 Chicago Jazz Hero” by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
• Aoki is a prolific artist, composer, musician, educator, consummate bassist, shamisen lute player, and filmmaker. He has been a vital creative force in Chicago since he moved to the city in 1977 from Tokyo.
• He has performed and recorded with Chicago’s luminaries such as Fred Anderson, Von Freeman, and Roscoe Mitchell, and has appeared on more than 90 recordings, including over 25 pieces under his own name. That has demonstrated his vision, artistry, and prowess on the bass, the shamisen, and taiko drums.
• He also introduced Asian American artists to Chicago audiences in his longstanding role as executive director of Asian Improv Arts Midwest. Through this activity, he founded the annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival in 1996.
• Moreover, he has guided the innovative Miyumi Project in exploring and celebrating the Asian American experience in Chicago for 20 years, earning plaudits from critics and audiences, as well as a designation of the Chicago Tribune’s “Chicagoan of the Year” in 2001.
• After all, Tatsu Aoki has been devoting himself to connecting people of all races, ages, and backgrounds through jazz, which has become an international language not restricted to the U.S