Tatsu Aoki is the bass player for Jazz Me Blues Band; he plays multiple instruments, composes different genres of music and has been playing with great musician all his life. More than 60 recordings and 30 experimental films can be attributed to his name. Tatsu Aoki was also named “Chicagoan of the Year” in 2001 and many acknowledge his contribution to jazz music.
He was born in 1957 into an Okiya Japanese family residing in Tokyo. Traditionally, Okiya is the household in which Geishas live and train during their career. As a result, Tatsu Aoki gained an interest in music at a very young age and caught the essence of traditional Japanese music. He later incorporated elements of American pop music into his repertoire.
Aoki also became interested in performing and filmmaking, due to his father, which was a movie producer at a local studio. When he was 20 years old he moved to the United States and started studying film-making in Chicago. He received his diploma from the School of the Art Institute, where is a professor now at the Film, Video and New Media Department.
Since his arrival in North America, Tatsu Aoki became known in the Chicago scene for his music. Playing the bass, but also the taiko and shamisen, he gained more and more listeners and his name was passed around quite often. The musician has played along with many of Chicago’s artists as well as internationally-known ones. Malachi Favors, Don Moye, Roscoe Mitchell, Wu Man and Fred Anderson are among the most notable collaborations.
In his own words, Tatsu Aoki decided to play with the Jazz Me Blues Band because it offers him something that he can do well. He recognizes good music and loves being a part of making it. He considers the Jazz Me Blues to be both remarkable and original and has been a key ingredient to their sound for quite a while.
With all his accomplishments and success, Tatsu Aoki manages to find the most joy when playing music and he loves to simply call himself a bassist.