Aardvark Jazz Orchestra to Continue Landmark 40th Season at MIT Cambridge

Acclaimed orchestra to perform original works by Mark Harvey, celebrating 50 years of jazz at MIT


Mark Harvey and his Aardvark Jazz Orchestra (photo by Erlyn Ordinario)

The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, one of the longest running large jazz ensembles in the world, will continue its historic 40th season with a concert called Echoes and Resonance, celebrating 50 years of jazz at MIT. The show, featuring original compositions by Aardvark founder and music director Mark Harvey, is April 20, 2013, at 8:00 pm, MIT Kresge Auditorium, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139. Free Admission. Information: 617-452-3205. Expect an exhuberant display of Aardvark’s “wit, imagination and sheer brio” (Jazz Review, UK), coupled with “expansive harmony, brilliant music…discipline, openness and freedom” (CultureJazz.Fr – France).

In the April 20 show, Mark Harvey will reprise two of his major MIT commissions: Beyond (written for the MIT Wind Ensemble and featuring Herb Pomeroy and Ran Blake in the premiere), and Saxophrenia (composed for the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, featuring Joe Lovano in the premiere). In addition, the concert will honor legendary musicians and their connections to Aardvark and MIT: Jaki Byard, who performed with Aardvark in 1986 in Kresge Auditorium, and Mercer Ellington, who lectured to Mark Harvey's classes at MIT and donated his arrangement of Moon Mist to the band. Also on tap: Harvey’s recent composition Boston Boy inspired by renowned jazz writer Nat Hentoff. Hentoff was a fledgling jazz announcer in Boston just as Herb Pomeroy, father of jazz at MIT, was beginning his illustrious career.

Founded in 1973, the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra has been in continuous operation for 40 years, longer than any other composer-led large jazz ensemble in the world. The band has premiered more than 150 works for jazz orchestra and released 11 CDs to rave reviews around the globe, including 6 discs on Leo Records, a leading adventurous music label. Guest artists who have appeared with Aardvark include jazz luminaries Jaki Byard, Sheila Jordan, Jimmy Giuffre, Geri Allen, Lewis Porter, Vinny Golia, Dominique Eade, Jay Clayton, Paul Lovens, Rajesh Mehta, Matt Savage and Walter Thompson.

Aardvark’s latest CD, Evocations (Leo Records), was named by The New York City Jazz Record as one of the magazine’s picks for Best of 2012.

The orchestra has given featured performances for the Duke Ellington Centennial (1999), the Mary Lou Williams Centennial (2010), the 30th John Coltrane Memorial Concert Festival (2007), the 50th Anniversary of the Society for the Arts, Religion, and Contemporary Culture (2010), and other events. In 2000, the band won the national Independent Music Award for best jazz recording. Members of Aardvark performed improvised soundtracks for the National Film Preservation Foundation's DVD Series Treasures from American Film Archives (“a rich and wondrous body of work… a world of unique beauty and expressivity” The New York Times), winner of Best DVD Series at Il Cinema Ritrovato Festival, Bologna (2006).

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. A world-renowned composer, he has received awards and commissions from ASCAP, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the 15th Annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert, 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 and composition at MIT. He is a founding board member of the nonprofit jazz advocacy organization JazzBoston.

Aardvark is: Arni Cheatham, Peter Bloom, Phil Scarff, Chris Rakowski, Dan Zupan/saxes and 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 and Grace Hughes, vocalists; Mark Harvey/trumpet, music director.

Aardvark is managed exclusively by Americas Musicworks, Rebecca DeLamotte, managing director, telephone: 888-887-7169 and email: [email protected] Visit: www.aardvarkjazz.com and www.americasmusicworks.com

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