Aardvark Jazz Orchestra to Hold 40th Annual Christmas Concert December 15, Emmanuel Church Boston

Concert to feature world premieres of two works by music director Mark Harvey

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The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra's 40th Annual Christmas Concert, Music in the Spirit of the Season, will feature the world premieres of two pieces by Aardvark founder/director Mark Harvey: Fanfare for 40 and Children's Carol, along with music from the very first Aardvark Christmas concert in 1973: the Advent hymn Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence and Duke Pearson's Cristo Redentor (both arrangements by Harvey). In honor of the 40-year mark, the band will play selections from all four decades of the Aardvark holiday tradition, including Harvey's Benedictus (performed at every Aardvark Christmas since 1982), Sugar Rum Cherry from the Ellington-Strayhorn Nutcracker Suite, and jazz updates of favorite carols like Silent Night. Aardvark has been praised for “a stunning hour of music that is, in turn, beautiful, poignant and raucous” (Billboard.com) and “a saxophonic blend worthy of Duke Ellington's finest reed sections” (JazzTimes).

The concert is December 15, 2012 at 8:00 pm, at Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116. Tickets are $15 at the door. Information: 617 776 8778.

Proceeds will benefit Emmanuel Church and Community Works (a coalition of Boston-area service organizations founded 30 years ago by Kip Tiernan and Fran Froehlich).

Aardvark 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. The aim of the Christmas Concert has always been to provide soulful celebration with a social conscience through a uniquely Aardvarkian perspective in the spirit of the season. Past beneficiaries have included Doctors Without Borders, American Friends Service Committee, Rosie’s Place, Pine Street Inn, The Poor Peoples United Fund and dozens more. Over the past 40 years, guest artists at the Christmas concert have included Sheila Jordan, Howard McGhee, Semenya McCord, Joe Carroll, Ron Gill, Jack Powers, Kip Tiernan, Brother Blue and many others.

A major force in the international jazz scene for 40 years, the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra is one of the longest running large jazz ensembles in North America. Winner of the 2000 Independent Music Awards, the band has premiered more than 140 works for jazz orchestra. Luminaries who have joined Aardvark on stage include Jimmy Giuffre, Geri Allen, Jaki Byard, Lewis Porter, Vinny Golia, Dominique Eade, Jay Clayton, Sheila Jordan, Paul Lovens, Rajesh Mehta, Matt Savage and Walter Thompson. Aardvark's 40th season features the international release of Evocations, the band's 11th CD and its 6th recording on Leo Records, a leading independent label whose catalogue includes such notables as Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Anthony Braxton and The Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Founder and 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 has received awards and commissions from ASCAP, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the 15th Annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert, and Meet-the-Composer-Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Commissioning Program, among others. Commissions have featured such revered artists as Joe Lovano, Steve Turre, Herb Pomeroy and Ran Blake. Dr. Harvey teaches jazz studies and composition at MIT, has lectured widely on religion and the arts, and is a retired Methodist minister.

Aardvark is: Arni Cheatham, Peter Bloom, Phil Scarff, Chris Rakowski, Dan Zupan/saxes & woodwinds; K.C. Dunbar, Jeanne Snodgrass, Taylor Ho Bynum/trumpets; Bob Pilkington, Jay Keyser/trombones; Jeff Marsanskis, Bill Lowe/bass trombones, tuba; Richard Nelson/guitar; John Funkhouser/string bass; Harry Wellott/drums; Jerry Edwards, Grace Hughes and Donna-Hewitt-Didham, vocalists; Mark Harvey/trumpet, music director.

Aardvark will continue its historic 40th season with multiple events in 2013, including the world premiere of Mark Harvey's epic new work, Boston JazzScape at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts on March 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm.

The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra is managed exclusively by Americas Musicworks.

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