Tatsu Aoki was born on September 19, 1957 in Tokyo, Japan into an artisan family that was a booking and training agent for Geisha ladies. He received at age 4 the important essence of traditional Tokyo Geisha cultural training and studies and became a part of the performing crew in early childhood. After his grandmother died, he had kept the Tokyo music training until early teen, and shifted his musical focus to American pop music and experimental music.
With his movie producer father he began working in small gage films and started to produce experimental films, was active performer during the early 70’s in the mist of Tokyo Underground Arts movement, became a member of Japanese Experimental Music ensemble, Gintenaki, presenting mixture of traditional music and new western music.
After coming to U.S. in 1977, Aoki studied experimental filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During the late 80’s, Aoki has become a leading advocate for Chicago’s Asian American community and one of Chicago’s most in-demand musicians on contrabass, taiko (Japanese drums) and shamisen (Japanese lute) and working in both film and music.
An active musician in the field of Asian American jazz, he is the founder and artistic director of Asian Improv ARTS Midwest, The Annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival and The JASC Tsukasa Taiko Legacy arts residency program. Double bassist Tatsu Aoki currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.