Aardvark Jazz To Give World Premiere at Saint Peter's Manhattan

Music by Aardvark Director Mark Harvey, and The Shepherd by Duke Ellington

Praised by Jazz Review for "exuberance, imagination and sheer brio," the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra will perform new music by Aardvark director Mark Harvey, together with works by Duke Ellingon at Saint Peter's Church, Lexington Avenue at 54th Street, November 11 at 7:30 pm. The concert, Spirit Soundings, will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Society for the Arts, Religion, and Contemporary Culture. Admission is $20. For information: 888-887-7169.

Highlights will be the New York premiere of founder and music director Mark Harvey's Blood on the Sun/New Moon Rising commemorating 9/11, and the world premiere of a Fanfare for 50, composed by Harvey for the occasion. For decades, Saint Peter's has been world-renowned as Manhattan's jazz church, where the late Reverend John Garcia Gensel founded the Jazz Ministry more than 40 years ago. As a tribute to him, Aardvark will perform the celebrated Duke Ellington composition The Shepherd, a tonal portrait of Pastor Gensel. Mark Harvey, a United Methodist minister, assisted Pastor Gensel in many services and celebrations at Saint Peter’s, including All Nite Soul events, Jazz Vespers, memorial services for Howard McGhee and Kenny Dorham, and other events.

The Society for the Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture (ARC), founded in 1961, is a national organization that explores interactions between religion and the arts in the modern world. Based at Saint Peter’s, ARC sponsors publications, performances, exhibitions, symposia, meetings and other events. Mark Harvey, Aardvark’s founder and music director, is a member of the ARC Board of Directors and an ARC Fellow. Other Fellows include Frank Stella, Edward Albee, Philip Johnson, Erich Fromm, Paul Tillich, Robert Motherwell, Virgil Thompson, Robert Penn Warren and Alfred H. Barr, Jr (founding President).

With global distribution of 10 CDs and wide-ranging performances in festivals, clubs, concert halls, colleges and universities, The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra has been a major force in the international jazz scene for almost 40 years. Winner of the 2000 Independent Music Awards, the band is known for its eclectic concerts spanning the jazz and American music spectrum, from original works by Mark Harvey to the music of Duke Ellington and other jazz greats, to performances with film, dance, poetry, concert choirs and symphony orchestras. Aardvark has premiered more than 130 works for jazz orchestra and has released 10 CDs to critical acclaim around the globe, including 5 discs on the Leo Records label. The band’s latest release, American Agonistes, was hailed as “a stunning hour of music that is in turn beautiful, poignant and raucous” (Billboard.com). Guest artists who've appeared with Aardvark include Sheila Jordan, Geri Allen, Dominique Eade, Jaki Byard, Jimmy Giuffre, Jay Clayton, Robert Honeysucker, Walter Thompson, Rajesh Mehta, Paul Lovens, and Harvie Swartz. New York trumpeter extraordinaire Taylor Ho Bynum is an Aardvark member. Aardvark alums include Frank London, Ken Filiano, Tom Varner, John Clark, George Garzone, Marcus Rojas, and Marshall Sealy.

Music director Mark Harvey has performed as trumpeter in the U.S., Mexico and Europe; has recorded with George Russell (Blue Note) and Baird Hersey (Arista/Novus); and performed with Gil Evans, Claudio Roditi, Howard McGhee, Sam Rivers, Joe Carroll, Kenny Dorham and others. He performed in New York as part of FONT (the Festival of New Trumpet Music) and in venues such as The Village Gate, Roulette, and the Public Theater. Harvey has received awards and commissions from ASCAP, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the 15th Annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert, the Organization of American Kodaly Educators, the MIT Wind Ensemble and Meet-the-Composer-Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Commissioning Program, among others. Commissions have featured such notables as Joe Lovano, Steve Turre, Herb Pomeroy and Ran Blake. Dr. Harvey teaches jazz studies at MIT.

The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra is managed exclusively by Americas Musicworks, Rebecca DeLamotte, Managing Director
Toll Free: 888-887-7169. www.americasmusicworks.com Email: delamotte-amw@comcast.net

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