Home 2019-10-07T18:05:37+00:00
Kiku Hibino

The 23rd Annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival 2018 (CAAJF) at Elastic Arts

Nov 10 –   “Asian American Experimentalism and Expansion”
                    Jonathan Chen, Tatsu Aoki, Special Guest Lou Mallozzi, and Featuring KIKÙ HIBINO

Nov 17 –    Francis Wong’s “Legends and Legacies”
                   Mai Sugimoto Album Debut “Born/Raised”

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.

Come and celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival (CAAJF). The CAAJF features 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 create an improvisational experience.

All events will be held at:
3429 W Diversey Ave #208
Chicago, IL 60647



9pm / $10

“Asian American Experimentalism and Expansion”
Jonathan Chen, Tatsu Aoki, Special Guest Lou Mallozzi, and Featuring KIKÙ HIBINO

The experience returns: extrapolating the unique concept experience created during Tatsu Aoki’s collaboration with the Jonathen Chen Orchestra.  The electro-acoustic soundscape is interwoven with the distilled reality of the Asian-American existence.

Composer, improviser, and sound artist, Jonathan Chen, creates work through either conceptual foci or through experimentation with materials. His work for electronics often consist of thick layers of fluctuating sounds produced through multiple feedback systems, and at other times a more simple approach such as his installation Amplified (2010), which only involves the light amplification of a person’s voice. As a violinist and violist his improvisational work often emphasizes timbre rather than pitch, either drawing from a wide palette, or honing in on a single sound. Chen has a PhD in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York; a Master of Arts in Music Composition from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT; and a Master of Music in Violin Performance from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. His work has been published by Leonardo Music Journal (MIT Press), the Deep Listening Institute, Asian Improv Records, Interval, and Striking Mechanism, among others.

Chicago-based and Japanese-born sound artist KIKÙ HIBINO has been producing cross-genre electronic music, from chamber music for media productions to digital micro sound for art installations, he has collaborated internationally with a wide variety of artists and scholars, including Kawaguchi Takao (Dumb Type), Curtis Roads, Theaster Gates , Mike Weis (Zelienople) and Norma Field.

His recent work “Radial Categories” explores the new horizon of house music by layering the multiple sounds and noise that have different rhythm structure. 

The publication, The Wire once described his music as “trying to cram in as many memories as possible before it all disappears” and that the music “concerns itself with themes of capturing and preserving fleeting moments” (2007, issue 279). 

He studied electronic music composition at University of California at Santa Barbara under the mentorship of Curtis Roads and Karen Tanaka, and holds M.A. in media art and technology. B.A. in policy management from Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus in 2002, where he minored electronic music composition under the mentorship of Toru Iwatake, Atau Tanaka, and Christopher Penrose. 

Lou Mallozzi is an interdisciplinary artist based in Chicago who works in performance, installation, sound art, improvised music, and drawing. He has exhibited and performed in the US and Europe at venues such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Renaissance Society, Ausland Berlin, Radiorevolten Festival Halle, TUBE Audio Art Series Munich, Fylkingen Stockholm, and many others. He is appears on recent CD releases by Ken Vandermark (Momentum 3: Monster Roster) and Rob Mazurek (Wrecks). He is Assistant Professor in the Sound Department of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Tatsu Aoki is a leading advocate for the Asian American community, as well as a prolific composer and performer of traditional and experimental music forms, a filmmaker, and an educator. Born in Tokyo, 1957 into the Toyoakimoto artisan family, a traditional house for training and booking agents for geisha. Aoki was part of his family’s performance crew from the age of four. In the late 1960s, he shifted his energies from the traditional to American pop and experimental music. By the early 1970s, Aoki was active in Tokyo’s underground arts movement as a member of Gintenkai, an experimental ensemble that combined traditional music and new Western forms.

In 1977, Aoki left Tokyo and is now one of the most in-demand performers of bass, shamisen, and taiko, contributing more than ninety recording projects and touring internationally during the last thirty-five years. Aoki is the Founder and Artistic Director of Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival.


Jonathan Chen
Kiku Hibino
Lou Mallozzi
Tatsu Aoki


9pm / $10

Francis Wong’s “Legends and Legacies”

with Francis Wong, William Roper, Mwata Bowden, Edward Wilkerson Jr., Tatsu Aoki, Melody Takata, and Kioto Aoki

A Confluence of West Coast Flare and Chicago Style

Few musicians are as accomplished as Francis Wong, considered one of “the great saxophonists of his generation” by the late jazz critic Phil Elwood. A prolific recording artist, Wong is featured on more than forty titles as a leader and sideman. For over two decades he has performed his innovative brand of jazz and creative music for audiences in North America and Asia. Wong’s imaginative career straddles roles as varied as performing artist, youth mentor, composer, artistic director, community activist, non-profit organization manager, consultant, music producer, and academic lecturer.

Wong is joined by Los Angeles based tuba player and composer William Roper and Melody Takata, a taiko drummer, founder of Genryu taiko and dance artist based in San Francisco. The group is rounded out by the Chicago members, reeds player, Mwata Bowden, is Director of Jazz Ensembles at the University of Chicago and is closely affiliated with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Edward Wilkerson Jr. is an internationally recognized jazz musician, composer, arranger, and educator also based in Chicago. As founder and director of the octet 8 Bold Souls and the twenty-five-member ensemble Shadow Vignettes, Wilkerson has toured festivals and concert halls throughout the US, Europe, Japan, and the Middle East. Kioto Aoki is a taiko artist and core member of Tsukasa Taiko, a program of Asian Improv aRts Midwest. She has been playing taiko since the age of 7 and often shares the stage with AACM members. She is a recipient of the Ethnic and Folk Arts Master Apprentice Program from the Illinois Arts Council and recent projects include Yoko Ono’s Skylanding Project in Jackson Park.


Francis Wong
William Roper
Melody Takata
Tatsu Aoki
Mwata Bowden
Kioto Aoki
Edward Wilkerson Jr.

Mai Sugimoto Album Debut “Born/Raised”

AIRMW is proud to present
The Mai Sugimoto Quartet performance for her debut album “Born/Raised”

Mai Sugimoto – saxophone
Quentin Coaxum –trumpet
Katie Ernst – bass
Charles Rumback – drums

Mai Sugimoto is a Japanese born saxophonist and composer living in Chicago. She performs frequently throughout the Chicagoland area and is a member of Hanami, a quartet that features her original work and arrangements of Japanese music. Sugimoto draws additional inspiration from Lennie Tristano and his improvisational approach, 90’s and early 00’s J-pop, the Beatles, Glenn Gould, and the creative music scene of Chicago. She continues to channel these inspirations and others into writing for her new quartet which she debuted in 2016.


Mai Sugimoto

Asian Improv aRts Midwest

If you would like to find out more about the 23rd annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival, AIRMW, share an idea or make a donation, here is how to contact us:

Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival is a program of Asian Improv aRts Midwest and the Japanese American Service Committee of Chicago and is supported in part by the Illinois Arts Council, the MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Alphawood Foundation, CDH. P.C, JCCC Foundation, Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Field Foundation of Illinois