Kuroshio is the continuous flow of creative spirit expressed by an ever-evolving ensemble of improvising artists of Asian descent who explore and contemplate diasporic histories through multilayered channels of sound and performance.
Kuroshio features Jason Finkelman (percussion, laptop electronics), Joy Yang (theremin, keyboard), Saori Kataoka (trumpet, flugelhorn) and Kavi Naidu (saxophone, flutes).
About the Artists
Joy Yang is a pianist and theremin player pushing boundaries in musical genres through the pursuit of multidisciplinary improvisation. With Classical piano studies beginning at age four, Yang completed her undergraduate BMusic/BEducation in Sydney, Australia, where she was introduced to jazz and improvisation by Nicky Crayson, Alister Spence, and Sandy Evans. In Sydney, Yang was a founding member of the all-female jazz ensemble Valkyrie Trio and performance group ViolaMPFREE, featuring live dance, projection mapping, spoken word, and digital painting. Currently based in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, Yang is pursuing a DMA in jazz performance (cognate in piano performance and literature) at the University of Illinois with Chip Stephens and Rochelle Sennet. She continually broadens her musical voice as a member of several projects including the music improvisation ensemble Kuroshio, the Avant-Gardians, multidisciplinary collaborations with Amy Hassinger, local jazz ensembles, and hip-hop artists and dancers. Yang is thankful to have worked closely with mentors Satoko Fujii, Neta Maughan AM, Tamara-Anna Cislowska, Adam Hulbert, Eric Chapus, and Lamont Holden.
Kavi Naidu is a saxophonist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist from Champaign-Urbana, committed to exploring musical textures and ideas that span a wide range of musical cultures, traditions and styles. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 2020 where he studied privately and in small group settings with Chip McNeill, Tito Carrillo, Chip Stevens, and Ron Bridgewater. He has performed all over the Midwest in genres that include traditional and avant-garde jazz, funk, blues, pop, Latin, musical theater, classical, and experimental and creative improvisation. His debut solo album “Tsunagari,” released in 2020, features saxophone, flute, and the shinobue, as well as guitar and bass. The project examines the intersection between traditional Japanese music and jazz-descended improvisation and is available on bandcamp and major streaming platforms. Kavi currently performs regularly in the central Illinois area as part of the Kavi Naidu Quartet, the Iron Post Jazz Orchestra, the latin pop group Sabor con Fusion, funk/fusion groups Mangopods and Dropsy, and the experimental improvisation collective Kuroshio.
Saori Kataoka is an award-winning performer from Tokushima, Japan committed to exploring a broad spectrum of trumpet performance spanning classical repertoire, jazz traditions, expansive new music and improvisation. As the first brass player to appear as a Krannert Center Debut Artist (2020), Kataoka has been awarded Distinction in the Professional Wind Instrument Division at the Vienna International Music Competition and First Place at Charleston International Music Competition (South Carolina). She has performed at festivals such as Festival Napa Valley (California), the Festival of Young Artists Bayreuth (Germany), and Lake George Music Festival (New York). Her orchestral appearance includes Sinfonia da Camera, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Danville Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Americas to name a few. Kataoka served as an adjunct instructional assistant professor of trumpet at Illinois State University (2020 - 2021). Currently, she is pursuing Master of Music in the jazz performance program at the University of Illinois with graduate minors in global studies and dance. She holds a Master of Music in trumpet performance and literature from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Arts with a Certificate in Jazz Music from Campbellsville University (Kentucky).
Jason Finkelman combines laptop electronics and acoustic instrumentation to create a distinct ambient, avant-world sound. A specialist on the single string musical bow berimbau, Finkelman is a Philadelphia-born percussionist who performs on African and Brazilian instruments handcrafted by Adimu Kuumba. His roots in improvised music include founding the trio Straylight in 1992, which enjoyed a wide range of collaborative performances in the Straylight Dialogues series at the Knitting Factory. Urbana-Champaign-based since 2000, Finkelman performs continually with a host of genre-blurring improvisers, is a community radio host at WEFT 90.1FM and leads the ever-evolving ensemble Kuroshio, which recently released an eponymous CD on Asian Improv Records (2020). As a composer for dance, Finkelman has collaborated with choreographer Cynthia Oliver for over twenty-three years and received a “Bessie” award as a composer for her full evening work SHEMAD (2000). At the University of Illinois, Finkelman directs Global Arts Performance Initiatives at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and leads Improvisers Exchange, a performance ensemble of the School of Music. https://jasonfinkelman.bandcamp.com