The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra continues its 48th season with a virtual concert of Mark Harvey originals, called Eclectic Excursions - an archival video with selections from Aardvark’s April 2014 concert at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium. The audience is invited to a Live Zoom reception following the online video-concert. Featuring the full Aardvark Jazz Orchestra with its two stellar vocalists, Grace Hughes and Jerry Edwards, this online concert is a joyful celebration of springtime and renewal. The program of original compositions by music director Mark Harvey includes two selections from his Boston JazzScape suite: “Keepin’ On” (inspired by the ongoing quest for racial justice) and “Samba313” (a portrait of Boston poet and community activist Jack Powers). The lyrical ballad “Dreaming” is counterpointed by the raucous “Spaceways,” a tribute to the legendary Sun Ra Arkestra. The concert finale is a full performance of “No Walls,” Harvey’s multi-genre suite inspired by Duke Ellington’s credo to move “beyond category” in music and life. The last movement of “No Walls” is a rousing conclusion to the virtual concert, a spirited anthem to building bridges and breaking down walls.
"Stunningly beautiful and adventurous" – The New York City Jazz Record
"One of the best jazz ensembles in the world" – Jazz Podium, Germany
Founded in 1973, The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra is one of the longest running large jazz ensembles in the world. The orchestra has premiered more than 180 works, and has performed extensively in clubs, concert halls, festivals, colleges, universities, and other venues. Aardvark guest artists have included such notables as Sheila Jordan, Jaki Byard, Ricky Ford, Geri Allen, Jimmy Giuffre, Matt Savage and Dominique Eade. Aardvark has released 16 CDs, including 10 discs on Leo Records. The band’s latest release, Faces of Souls (2020, Leo Records) was chosen by The New York City Jazz Record as one of their “Best of 2020” Large Ensemble Releases.
Founder and music director Mark Harvey, winner of the 2019 Roy Haynes Award, has performed as trumpeter with jazz greats Claudio Roditi, Gil Evans, Howard McGhee, Kenny Dorham, Sam Rivers and others, and has recorded with George Russell and Baird Hersey. Among his 200 works are pieces written for and premiered with jazz legends Joe Lovano, Sheila Jordan, Steve Turre, Jimmy Giuffre, and Ran Blake. Dr. Harvey has received numerous awards and commissions and teaches jazz studies at MIT.
Aardvark members and their years of service on the Aardvark bandstand: Arni Cheatham (44), Peter H. Bloom (44), Phil Scarff (34), Chris Rakowski (20), and Dan Zupan (24), woodwinds; KC Dunbar (31) and Jeanne Snodgrass (32), trumpets; Bob Pilkington (40), Jay Keyser (34), and Jeff Marsanskis (40), trombones; Bill Lowe (27), bass trombone and tuba; Richard Nelson (34) guitar; John Funkhouser (30) piano and string bass; Harry Wellott (38), drums; Jerry Edwards (38) and Grace Hughes (17) vocalists; and Mark Harvey (48), music director.
Aardvark is managed by Americas Musicworks.