CD Spotlight

No Walls/A Christmas Concert (2007)

Aardvark Jazz Orchestra CD No Walls / A Christmas Concert (2007, Aardmuse)Celebrating the release of its 9th CD, No Walls/A Christmas Concert (Aardmuse label), the CD features carols from around the world and Mark Harvey’s piece No Walls, a tribute to Doctors Without Borders. The CD is available now!

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Photo: Erlyn Ordinario
 
Concert: Sat. 12/20: An American Christmas PDF Print E-mail
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra Christmas Concert
Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 7:30 pm
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra:  An American Christmas
Emmanuel Church
15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116
Admission:  $20 at the door
Information:  617-776-8778  or  617-452-3205
 
The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra will perform An American Christmas, celebrating the band’s 42nd Annual Christmas Benefit Concert on December 20 at 7:30 pm, Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St, Boston MA 02116.  $20 at the door.  Information:  617 776 8778 or 617 452 3205.  The program will include music in the spirit of the season by William Billings and Mark Harvey; American carols and spirituals; and selections from the Ellington/Strayhorn Nutcracker Suite.  Proceeds will benefit Poor People’s United Fund, an organization fighting poverty and homelessness through education, advocacy, support to grassroots service organizations, and emergency assistance to families and individuals.
 
The December 20 show will feature William Billings' Shepherd's Carol, two African American spirituals, and selections from the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn arrangement (1960) of Tchaikovsky’s beloved Nutcracker Suite – an exuberant big band take on the perennial classic, in which the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy becomes the Sugar Rum Cherry, the Waltz of the Flowers becomes the Dance of the Floreadores and the Russian Dance is transformed into The Volga Vouty.   The band will also perform selections from Mark Harvey’s Bethlehem Counterpoint, including The Prophet, inspired by Boston’s legendary social activist Kip Tiernan (1926-2011).  Tiernan was founder of Rosie’s Place and co-founder of Poor People’s United Fund (beneficiary of Aardvark’s 2014 Christmas concert).  The entire Bethlehem Counterpoint suite received its world premiere in Aardvark’s 25th Annual Christmas concert, (1997, when Sheila Jordan joined the band as guest artist).
 
The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra (Mark Harvey, founder and music director) gave its inaugural concert December 23, 1973 at the Church of the Covenant in Boston as a benefit for the Chelsea Fire Fund.  Every year since then, the band has held a Christmas concert to support a deserving cause. Past beneficiaries have included Doctors Without Borders, American Friends Service Committee, Rosie’s Place, Pine Street Inn, and dozens more.  Over the past 40 years, guest artists at the Aardvark Christmas concert have included Sheila Jordan, Howard McGhee, Semenya McCord, Joe Carroll, Ron Gill, Jack Powers, Kip Tiernan, Brother Blue and many others. 
 

 
Recent: 11/06:Jazz Revival in the West End: '70-75 PDF Print E-mail
JAZZ REVIVAL IN THE WEST END 1970 - 1975
The Old West Church, Debbie's, and New Directions for Boston Jazz
A talk by Mark Harvey with archival sound clips, images, and live music!
The West End Museum,150 Staniford Street, Boston   
Thursday,November 6, 7 PM  
$10/Museum Members $5 www.thewestendmuseum.org
 
Forty years ago, there was a wave of new jazz activity on the edges of Boston's old West End neighborhood, at the Old West Church and Debbie's Jazz Club. Hundreds of Boston musicians along with luminaries Jaki Byard, Donald Byrd,and Sam Rivers were featured. Bebop legend Kenny Dorham performed his last concert at Old West Ctmrch and young players such as Pat Metheny, Dave Samuels, and John Scofield appeared at Debbie's. 
 
Mark Harvey served as a catalyst for much of this activity, including the Jazz Celebrations series, the Jazz All Nite Concerts, Boston Jazz Week, and the Jazz Coalition, a non-profit advocacy and support organization. At this presentation, Harvey shared his recollections of this significant moment in Boston jazz history. Rounding out the evening, there was music from Mark and other long-time Boston musicians, Arni Cheatham, Peter Bloom, and, Tim Ray. 
  
  
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Recent: 11/01: Aardvark Election Special PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 8:00 pm
MIT Killian Hall, 160 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA
Free admission.   Information:  617 452-3205  
 
Aardvark continued its historic 42nd season with an election-year special November 1 at MIT’s Killian Hall. The band took the pulse of politics and culture with selections like DeEvolution Blues, Through the Looking Glass Blues, and Keepin' On, from the band's latest CD Impressions (Leo Records). The social consciousness thread in jazz runs from Ellington through Mingus and on to Charlie Haden and Archie Shepp, and Aardvark has mined this important tradition for many years. Thanks to everyone who attended on that rainy Saturday night!
 
New CD: Impressions PDF Print E-mail
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra CD Impressions
The new CD “IMPRESSIONS” features seven compositions by Aardvark music director Mark Harvey that Francois Couture has called “highly enjoyable . . . with convincing writing and strong performances.” (Monsieur Delire/Canada).  The music conjures up a variety of moods, emotions, and tone colors, as well as inspirations from socio-cultural events in Boston’s history, such as the struggle for desegregation of the public schools, the urban renewal fiasco of the old West End neighborhood, and the tragedy of Sacco and Vanzetti.  This exploratory music ranges from the lyrical to the Dada-esque, from the meditative to the monumental. 

Reviews of the recording are enthusiastic:

“Exceptional music”  Ken Cheetham, Jazz Views

“Strange, brooding harmonic language…beautiful playing throughout” Jon Garelick, The Artery/WBUR Radio

“It’s great music. Aardvark have an eloquence in their improvisation written inside the art of orchestration.  A pity Duke and The Count can’t hear where their great art form has gotten to.”  Steve Davis/What’s New Jazz Magazine, UK
 
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Recent: 10/26: Aardvark Celebrates Claremont NHs 250th PDF Print E-mail
The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra
Claremont, New Hampshire 250th Anniversary Celebration
Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 4:00 pm
Claremont Opera House
58 Opera House Square, Claremont, NH 03743

The concert featured the world premiere of Mark Harvey’s Claremont Suite, commissioned for the occasion. The legendary Aardvark Jazz Orchestra was featured in the 250th Anniversary Celebration of the City of Claremont New Hampshire  on October 26, 2014 at 4:00 pm at the Claremont Opera House.  

Aardvark’s show, called Big Band Panorama: Swing Era Classics to Modern Gems, was a tribute to the long tradition of jazz in Claremont.  The city was a New Hampshire mainstay for touring bands in the Swing Era.  Pieces like Glenn Miller's Moonlight Serenade and Duke Ellington's I'm Beginning to See the Light recall visits by those luminaries.  Aardvark evoked the modern era with Dizzy Gillespie's rhythmically infectious Manteca and selections from the exhilarating Ellington-Strayhorn Far East Suite.  The grand finale was the world premiere of Mark Harvey’s captivating Claremont Suite, a kaleidoscopic update of the jazz spectrum, commissioned by the City of Claremont especially for this occasion, performed by Aardvark and the Claremont Community Jazz Band.

 
Recent: 10/02: Scullers CD Release Party PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 8:00 pm
The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra:  42nd Season Opener and CD Release Party!  
Aardvark and fans celebrated the North American Release of Aardvark’s 12th CD, Impressions (Leo Records)
Scullers Jazz Club
Doubletree Guest Suites, 400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston, MA www.scullersjazz.com

Aardvark opened its 42nd season with a show celebrating the North American release of the band’s 12th CD, Impressions (Leo Records), featuring compositions by Aardvark music director Mark Harvey.  The band performed selections from the new CD (The Journey, recalling struggles for school desegregation, and West End Rundown), plus a rare Django Reinhardt composition Manoir de mes Reves, arranged by Bob Brookmeyer, as well as Gerry Mulligan's seldom heard A Ballad.  Rounding out the show was Dizzy Gillespie's Manteca, and the Mary Lou Williams classic Roll 'Em
 
JazzTimes: Aardvark honoring Marathon bombing victims & heroes PDF Print E-mail
 The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, one of the longest running large jazz ensembles in the world, continues its historic 41st season with a concert of music by founder and music director Mark Harvey on Saturday April 26, 2014 at 8:00 pm at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium. The centerpiece will be the world premiere of Harvey’s Commemoration (Boston 2013), a tribute to the victims and survivors of the Boston Marathon tragedy. No Walls, a staple of the Aardvark repertory, will be offered in a spirit of unity and healing. No Walls has been selected as the official song for JazzBoston’s Jazz Week (April 21-30, 2014). Also on tap: another Mark Harvey premiere, Spaceways,a celebration of Sun Ra in his centennial year. This concert is presented by MIT Music and Theater Arts, in conjunction with JazzBoston’s Jazz Week and the Smithsonian Institution’s observance of April as National Jazz Appreciation Month. Read the full article.  
 
Aardvark's "No Walls" Named Official Song of Jazz Week PDF Print E-mail
 Jazz Week has declared Mark Harvey's composition "No Walls, " the official song of Jazz  Week. And the music has inspired the theme for the week, April 25 through May 4  "No Walls: A Salute to the Power of Jazz to Bring People Together," especially significant in this season commemorating the first Boston Marathon since last year's tragedy. Read the Globe article.
  
To obtain a recording of "No Walls," the culminating work of the CD "No Walls: A Christmas Concert," please send a check payable to Aardvark for $15 [shipping and handling included] with your name and postal address to Mark Harvey, PO Box 8721, JFK Station, Boston MA 02114..\ 
 
See a recap of recent concerts & events PDF Print E-mail
Click here to read about recent concerts from the current and previous seasons. 
 
Boston Globe Review: Aardvark Jazz Orchestra marks two anniversaries PDF Print E-mail

 Aardvark Jazz Orchestra's April 21st concert at MIT was featured  in a review in the Sunday Boston Globe:

CAMBRIDGE ­— When you think “jazz college,” MIT probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind. But this year, MIT is celebrating 50 years with jazz on the curriculum, going back to the hiring of Herb Pomeroy in 1963. Saturday night, current MIT jazz-faculty member Mark Harvey led his Aardvark Jazz Orchestra in a program at Kresge Auditorium that celebrated the MIT benchmark as well as the 40th anniversary of his band, and, coincidentally, Jazz Appreciation Month... Read the full story at the BostonGlobe.com  

 
"Evocations" among NYC Jazz Record Best of '12 PDF Print E-mail

We're pleased to announce that Aardvark’s new CD, Evocations (Leo Records) has been named to The New York City Jazz Record’s Best of 2012, Large Ensemble Releases

 Click here to view the full Best of 2012 listings  (PDF, opens in new window)  

 
Gifts for the Fan: 40th Anniversary Aardvark T-Shirts PDF Print E-mail

A brand new AARDVARK T-SHIRT in celebration of our historic 40th season is now available in most sizes with an elegant design -- red on either black or teal shirts.  (To check on availability of specific sizes, please email  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ). Click images at right to view a larger image.

To order, please send a check for $17 (shipping & handling included) payable to Aardvark c/o Mark Harvey, PO Box 8721, JFK Station, Boston, MA 02114.  Order now for prompt delivery and best selection! 

 
Yes, Aardvark is on Facebook! 'Like' our page! PDF Print E-mail

Please visit Aardvark Jazz Orchestra's Facebook page and click Like to stay in touch with the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra.

Click here to visit and like our Facebook page for updated event and music information.

 

 
11th CD Released: "EVOCATIONS" PDF Print E-mail
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra EVOCATIONS CD
Already garnering enthusiastic reviews, EVOCATIONS, on Leo Records, one of the world's leading adventurous music labels, showcases the original compositions of music director Mark Harvey.   
 
These pieces display a masterful blend of jazz traditions and 20th-century music while allowing for much individual, collective, and conductor's improvisation. 
 
"a modern and absolutely unique sound"  
Jazz Podium
(Germany) 
 
"filled with never-ending movement, change, turbulence, playfulness, contradictions...that not only works but also provokes and surprises" 
UNI Magazine
(Czech Republic)
 
Click "Read more" below for more info and 
Order Your CD Today!
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Featured Video -- Sumner: A Biography in Jazz PDF Print E-mail

Click the image below to watch the video in a new window on YouTube.
Or click this link: http://youtu.be/86-sVi3vZAA

 
Aardvark by the Book PDF Print E-mail
 Aardvark has received a highly complimentary mention in a brand-new book by composer/educator Graham Collier entitled the jazz composer: moving music off the paper (London: Northway Publications, 2009), p. 124.

Discussing a quartet of international ensembles, including Aardvark, and comparing these with some of the recognized names in today's big band music, Collier writes...
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