Aardvark Jazz Orchestra
February 16, 2011
The celebrated Aardvark Jazz Orchestra (Mark Harvey, music director) continues its historic 38th season with a much anticipated return to Scullers. The show, called Jazz Portraits, is Mark Harvey’s valentine to jazz greats and beloved figures of Boston. The band will play original works by Harvey paying tribute to Duke Ellington (For Edward), Mary Lou Williams (Blues for Mary Lou), Gil Evans (Gil), Don Cherry (Don Cherry’s Song of Beauty), Jaki Byard (JB’s Dreamtime), and legendary storyteller Brother Blue (Blue Butterfly). A special highlight: the premiere of Harvey’s piece 'The Lion' in honor of Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
With global distribution of 10 CDs and wide-ranging performances in festivals, clubs, concert halls, colleges and universities, Aardvark has been a major force in the international jazz scene for almost 40 years. JazzTimes called Aardvark “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.” Jazz Review (U.K.) praised Aardvark for “"exuberance, imagination and sheer brio,” while The Boston Phoenix called the band “one of the great idiosyncratic treasures of the Boston music scene” and Downbeat marveled at their “awe-inspiring audience fascination.”
The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra is known for its exhilarating concerts spanning the jazz and American music spectrum. Winner of the 2000 Independent Music Awards, the band has premiered more than 100 works for jazz orchestra. Of the band’s 10 CDs, five are on the Leo Records, one of the world’s leading adventurous music labels. The latest disc, American Agonistes (Leo Records), contains some of the band's most evocative work to date (“a stunning hour of music that is in turn beautiful, poignant and raucous” Billboard.com).
Trumpeter-composer Mark Harvey has recorded with George Russell (Blue Note) and Baird Hersey (Arista/Novus) and performed with Gil Evans, Claudio Roditi, Howard McGhee, Sam Rivers, and others. He is a Music Lecturer at MIT and a winner of awards/commissions from ASCAP, the National Endowment, Meet the Composer/Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Commissioning Program, Organization of American Kodaly Educators, the 15th Annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert, and the MIT Wind Ensemble, among others. Harvey has performed in the U.S., Mexico and Europe, with appearances at leading festivals and venues.
Members of Aardvark performed at the National Gallery in 2006 as part of the celebrated Dada exhibition, and band members recorded improvisational scores for the award-winning DVD series Treasures from the American Film Archives, which The New York Times called “one of the best sets of the year.”
Aardvark suggests the best and the brashest of Charles Mingus, Gil Evans, George Russell, and even Frank Zappa.” -- JazzTimes