CD Spotlight

No Walls/A Christmas Concert (2007)

Aardvark Jazz Orchestra CD No Walls / A Christmas Concert (2007, Aardmuse)Celebrating the release of its 9th CD, No Walls/A Christmas Concert (Aardmuse label), the CD features carols from around the world and Mark Harvey’s piece No Walls, a tribute to Doctors Without Borders. The CD is available now!

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Photo: Erlyn Ordinario
 
Concert: Sat. 12/20: An American Christmas PDF Print E-mail
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra Christmas Concert
Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 7:30 pm
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra:  An American Christmas
Emmanuel Church
15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116
Admission:  $20 at the door
Information:  617-776-8778  or  617-452-3205
 
The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra will perform An American Christmas, celebrating the band’s 42nd Annual Christmas Benefit Concert on December 20 at 7:30 pm, Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St, Boston MA 02116.  $20 at the door.  Information:  617 776 8778 or 617 452 3205.  The program will include music in the spirit of the season by William Billings and Mark Harvey; American carols and spirituals; and selections from the Ellington/Strayhorn Nutcracker Suite.  Proceeds will benefit Poor People’s United Fund, an organization fighting poverty and homelessness through education, advocacy, support to grassroots service organizations, and emergency assistance to families and individuals.
 
The December 20 show will feature William Billings' Shepherd's Carol, two African American spirituals, and selections from the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn arrangement (1960) of Tchaikovsky’s beloved Nutcracker Suite – an exuberant big band take on the perennial classic, in which the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy becomes the Sugar Rum Cherry, the Waltz of the Flowers becomes the Dance of the Floreadores and the Russian Dance is transformed into The Volga Vouty.   The band will also perform selections from Mark Harvey’s Bethlehem Counterpoint, including The Prophet, inspired by Boston’s legendary social activist Kip Tiernan (1926-2011).  Tiernan was founder of Rosie’s Place and co-founder of Poor People’s United Fund (beneficiary of Aardvark’s 2014 Christmas concert).  The entire Bethlehem Counterpoint suite received its world premiere in Aardvark’s 25th Annual Christmas concert, (1997, when Sheila Jordan joined the band as guest artist).
 
The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra (Mark Harvey, founder and music director) 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. Past beneficiaries have included Doctors Without Borders, American Friends Service Committee, Rosie’s Place, Pine Street Inn, and dozens more.  Over the past 40 years, guest artists at the Aardvark Christmas concert have included Sheila Jordan, Howard McGhee, Semenya McCord, Joe Carroll, Ron Gill, Jack Powers, Kip Tiernan, Brother Blue and many others. 
 

 
Recent: 11/06:Jazz Revival in the West End: '70-75 PDF Print E-mail
JAZZ REVIVAL IN THE WEST END 1970 - 1975
The Old West Church, Debbie's, and New Directions for Boston Jazz
A talk by Mark Harvey with archival sound clips, images, and live music!
The West End Museum,150 Staniford Street, Boston   
Thursday,November 6, 7 PM  
$10/Museum Members $5 www.thewestendmuseum.org
 
Forty years ago, there was a wave of new jazz activity on the edges of Boston's old West End neighborhood, at the Old West Church and Debbie's Jazz Club. Hundreds of Boston musicians along with luminaries Jaki Byard, Donald Byrd,and Sam Rivers were featured. Bebop legend Kenny Dorham performed his last concert at Old West Ctmrch and young players such as Pat Metheny, Dave Samuels, and John Scofield appeared at Debbie's. 
 
Mark Harvey served as a catalyst for much of this activity, including the Jazz Celebrations series, the Jazz All Nite Concerts, Boston Jazz Week, and the Jazz Coalition, a non-profit advocacy and support organization. At this presentation, Harvey shared his recollections of this significant moment in Boston jazz history. Rounding out the evening, there was music from Mark and other long-time Boston musicians, Arni Cheatham, Peter Bloom, and, Tim Ray. 
  
  
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Recent: 11/01: Aardvark Election Special PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 8:00 pm
MIT Killian Hall, 160 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA
Free admission.   Information:  617 452-3205  
 
Aardvark continued its historic 42nd season with an election-year special November 1 at MIT’s Killian Hall. The band took the pulse of politics and culture with selections like DeEvolution Blues, Through the Looking Glass Blues, and Keepin' On, from the band's latest CD Impressions (Leo Records). The social consciousness thread in jazz runs from Ellington through Mingus and on to Charlie Haden and Archie Shepp, and Aardvark has mined this important tradition for many years. Thanks to everyone who attended on that rainy Saturday night!
 
New CD: Impressions PDF Print E-mail
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra CD Impressions
The new CD “IMPRESSIONS” features seven compositions by Aardvark music director Mark Harvey that Francois Couture has called “highly enjoyable . . . with convincing writing and strong performances.” (Monsieur Delire/Canada).  The music conjures up a variety of moods, emotions, and tone colors, as well as inspirations from socio-cultural events in Boston’s history, such as the struggle for desegregation of the public schools, the urban renewal fiasco of the old West End neighborhood, and the tragedy of Sacco and Vanzetti.  This exploratory music ranges from the lyrical to the Dada-esque, from the meditative to the monumental. 

Reviews of the recording are enthusiastic:

“Exceptional music”  Ken Cheetham, Jazz Views

“Strange, brooding harmonic language…beautiful playing throughout” Jon Garelick, The Artery/WBUR Radio

“It’s great music. Aardvark have an eloquence in their improvisation written inside the art of orchestration.  A pity Duke and The Count can’t hear where their great art form has gotten to.”  Steve Davis/What’s New Jazz Magazine, UK
 
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