CD Spotlight

'72 Harvey, Cheatham Recordings Re-Released

Long-time stellar saxophonist ARNI CHEATHAM and music director MARK HARVEY both have "new" recordings available on the Internet. Actually, these are digital download re-releases of LPs that appeared in 1972.

Part of the new "Massachusetts Underground Jazz Series" produced by Andrew Shrock and, these albums, and more to follow by an array of other artists from that period, provide rich aural portraits of the vibrant music scene in Boston and environs more than three decades ago.

Arni is joined by his band "Thing" which is also the title of the album. Mark collaborates with fellow Aardvarkians PETER BLOOM and CRAIG ELLIS in "The Mark Harvey Group In Concert" recording.

Challenging, exploratory music for adventurous ears!


1 Invocation pt. 1  8:47

2 Invocation pt. 2  5:59

3  Invocation pt. 3  8:50

4 For Margot  0:56

5 Tarot: The Moon pt. 1   3:34

6 Tarot: The Moon pt. 2   7:44

7 Tarot: The Moon pt. 3  5:58  


Read/hear more here:



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The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra: What the Critics Are Saying

“The AJO has become adept over the years at blending improvised and compositional elements, full-on free-for-all and the most delicate of sound patterns….admirers of large-scale improvised jazz will be delighted with the exuberance, imagination and sheer brio in evidence throughout this rich, absorbing album.”                                  
                                    ~ Chris Parker, Jazz Review, United Kingdom

“Expansive harmony, brilliant music... discipline, openness, and freedom:  a sumptuous work… an exceptional big band.”    
                                    ~ CultureJazz.Fr (France)

“The colorful refinement of Gil Evans' works, the harmonic, dissonant edge worthy of Stan Kenton, and also some nasty jazz kick in the spirit of Mingus.  Spirited composition and inspired playing.”
                                    ~ Jazz Alchemist, Poland

“a stunning hour of music that is, in turn, beautiful, poignant and raucous” 

“a bracing walk on the wild side of the big band spectrum...Aardvark suggests the best and the brashest of Charles Mingus, Gil Evans, George Russell, and even Frank Zappa…On Aardvark!” 
                                    ~ JazzTimes                                                                                                  

 “...footprints a-rumble with Jurassic import and power.  The uncontrollable aspects of a juggernaut unleashed provide much of Aardvark’s awe-inspiring audience fascination.”
                                    ~ Downbeat

“Aardvark's business is recognizing the roots of jazz while creating broad new frontiers in which the art form can flourish.”               
                                    ~ The Boston Globe

“Harvey’s far-ranging compositional palette is on display once again with a synthesis of various strains of large ensemble composition….Each piece on this 77-minute disc has a distinct identity and an ambitious compositional agenda [such as] ‘JB’s Dreamtime,’ a gorgeous, brooding, gossamer construction in honor of Jaki Byard who was closely affiliated with a number of Aardvark members….The trumpet obsession has surfaced before….but Trumpet Madness takes it to dazzling extremes, while also offering non-trumpet-centric works that would make for a deeply engaging album in themselves.”        
                                    ~ Michael Anton Parker, Downtown Music Gallery, New York City                                   

“ unapologetic creative edge...the soloists all play with conviction and passion...continually interesting and captivating...highly recommended…” 
                                    ~ Jazz Improv

“There’s an all-pervading honesty to this music, both in its conception and in its execution.  The latter aspect depends upon the ensemble’s notable precision and the strength of its soloists….Aardvark gives one hope in the future of the large jazz ensemble.  This is a very fine band….” 
                                    ~ Cadence

“Aardvark delivered some of the most magnificent music heard in Boston all year.  Yet it was Harvey’s own pieces that provided the most stunning moments.  Aardvark is one of Boston’s finest groups because it carries a triple threat: great players, intriguing arrangements, and Harvey’s technically assured, emotionally rich, melodic writing.”      
                                    ~ The Boston Herald

“The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra follows a postmodern aesthetic…indebted to Dada and Sun Ra among others…a modern and absolutely unique sound.”     
                                    ~ Jazz Podium, Germany

The pacing and dynamics are exhilarating...Aardvark stands up for what’s hale, hearty, eclectic, and rambunctious…”     
                                    ~ CD Review

“Intriguing big band music...opened out by an adventurous team of soloists.”
                                    ~ Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings

“...salutes Ellington with lush sonorities and a saxophonic blend worthy of Duke’s finest reed sections.”
                                    ~ JazzTimes

“...the American experimental tradition, with influences swinging from Charles Ives and Duke Ellington to John Cage and Cecil Taylor,...balancing classical composition with jazz improvisation….George Russell and Charles Mingus...are also present in spirit...The feel occasionally leans heavily toward Stockhausen and Penderecki...and sometimes more toward Gil Evan’s big band...Not much is available in adventurous music for large ensembles due to a lack of innovators like Harvey….his groundbreaking music a listen.” 

                                    ~ Jazz Now


“...embraces not just the Evans/Russell jazz axis, but blues, rock and African pop elements as well,...Harvey favors large statements for this large ensemble—and it works.”
                                    ~ Option

“Boston’s always adventurous Aardvark Jazz Orchestra is back with respectful yet exhilarating treatments of selections from Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts...Aardvark and Ellington are an ideal couple...remarkably impressive....”          

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