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Events Archive

::   Sun., 12.15.02  Thirtieth Annual Christmas Concert

The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra presented its Thirtieth Annual Christmas Concert, a Boston holiday tradition since 1973, on Sunday, December 15 at 7:30 PM at Boston's Arlington Street Church. This very special concert featured a variety of music in the spirit of the season, from updated arrangements of carols to original works to selections from Duke Ellington's Sacred Concerts. As always, the concert benefited a worthy community organization, this year, the Arlington Street Church Friday Night Supper Program.

To celebrate this special anniversary, Aardvark released TWO NEW CD RECORDINGS in conjunction with this concert, "Bethlehem Counterpoint" featuring jazz legend SHEILA JORDAN and "Duke Ellington/Sacred Music" featuring soloists, tap dancer, narrator, and eighty voice choir. These NEW CDs as well as our stylish 30th SEASON T-SHIRTS will make great holiday gifts.

Aardvark performed its inaugural concert on December 23, 1973 at the Church of the Covenant, Boston, as a benefit for the Chelsea Fire Fund. Ever since, the band has held an annual Christmas concert to support a deserving cause. Past beneficiaries have included Doctors Without Borders, Rosie's Place, the Pine Street Inn, the Shattuck
Shelter, Youth on Fire, and On the Rise, among others.

The musical programs have always been eclectic, ranging across several centuries of Yuletide offerings from many countries around the globe. For the December 15th program, selections will include "Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella" and "Silent Night" from the "Bethlehem Counterpoint" CD and "Heaven," "The Shepherd," and "Freedom" from the "Duke Ellington/ Sacred Music" CD, as well as other works.

Arlington Street Church  |  corner of Arlington and Boylston Streets (Arlington St. T Stop, Green Line)
Back Bay, Boston, MA  |  7.30 PM
Tickets: $15 General Admission; $10 Seniors/Students (No Advance Sales)  |  Info: 617.491.1042  |  Click here for directions.

::   Sat., 09.07.02  Aardvark Goes Back to School at Regattabar
Boston’s acclaimed Aardvark Jazz Orchestra kicks off its 30th season when the band returns to the Regattabar (Charles Hotel, Cambridge) on Saturday, September 7, at 8 & 10:30 p.m., with a high-energy evening featuring postmodern explorations of jazz music and saluting the great jazz masters, led by trumpeter-director Mark Harvey.

Aardvark’s previous shows at the Regattabar have sold-out, so get your tickets now!
Click here for additional event and ticket information.

Sat., Sept. 7, 8 & 10:30 pm -- Two Shows
Regattabar | Charles Hotel | 617.876.7777 | One Bennett Street | Cambridge, MA 02138
Click here for directions & map.  |  Click here for map only.

::   Sun., 09.15.02  Lake George Jazz Weekend
Aardvark concludes the Lake George Jazz Weekend with a typically eclectic musical offering featuring the postmodern explorations of Mark Harvey, some rarely performed Ellingtonia, plus blues and free-bop tunes. In a tribute to the victims and heroes of 9/11, Harvey's "Remembrance," will be premiered, together with his evocative "Blood on the Sun/New Moon Rising," first performed at the Equinox Music Festival September 19, 2001.

Shepard Park Bandstand, Canada Street, Lake George, NY 12845
4 pm performance  |  see other scheduled guests 1 – 6 pm, Saturday & Sunday  |  free admission
Presented by the Lake George Arts Project (518) 668-2616

::   Sat., 10.26.02  Enjoy some local color: Echoes of Boston concert
Echoes of Boston will showcase Mark Harvey originals such as "Charlie's Revenge" (a satire on "Charlie on the MTA") and "Prisms," originally written for and premiered by Jimmy Giuffre on one of Aardvark's many First Night Boston performances.

Harvard-Epworth United Methodist Church  |  1555 Mass Ave  |  Cambridge, MA  |  8 PM
Info: 617.452.3205  |  Click here for directions.

::   Sat., 11.21.02  An Ellington Extravaganza: From Standards to Sacred
Aardvark performs Ellington Extravaganza: From Standards to Sacred, a roof-raising concert tour through several decades of Ellingtonia, with stunning numbers by acclaimed tap dancer Tommy DeFrantz and choral works with the university chorus/choir. The program will celebrate the full range of Ellington's creative genius, from swinging classics to ingenious suites to soul-stirring sacred music.

Eastern State Connecticut University  |  83 Windham St.   |  Willimantic, CT   |  8 PM
Click here for directions.

Spring 2002

::   Sat., 05.04.02  American Originals at MIT
Aardvark's American Originals program at the Museum of Fine Arts in November was so popular that part of it will be reprised along with new offerings in early May at MIT.
Peter H. Bloom’s arrangement of Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s Bamboula, and Harvey's rendering of Charles Ives' The Housatonic at Stockbridge will be presented as well as selections from Ellington's suite, The River. Music director Harvey will also world-premiere a new composition at this concert, part of the MIT American Music Series.

Related Links:  American Music Series Press Release  |  MIT Tech Talk Story  |  Mark Harvey's Page

Sat., May 04, time 7 pm |  Kresge Auditorium | M.I.T. | Cambridge, MA

::   Sat., 03.02.02  Aardvark Friends & Relations in Performance and on Recording
Aardvark saxophonist/composer Phil Scarff will lead his critically acclaimed band NATRAJ in a guest performance and premier of a new piece with the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble on Sat., March 2nd at 8 PM in Kresge Auditorium on the MIT campus. On the same night, Mark Harvey will lead the FJE in two of his pieces, Scamology and Blue Sequence. This World Fusions concert will also mark the release of the FJE's latest CD recording on which Harvey is featured trumpet soloist in Ellington's The Shepherd and conductor of his own extended composition Flex, commissioned by the FJE and recorded in its premier performance.

Sat., March 02, 8 pm  |  Kresge Auditorium | M.I.T. | Cambridge, MA

::   Thurs., 02.28.02  Aardvark at Regattabar
Boston’s acclaimed Aardvark Jazz Orchestra returns to the Regattabar (Charles Hotel, Cambridge) on Thursday, February 28, at 8:30 p.m., with music of Mary Lou Williams, Nat Adderley, excerpts from the Ellington/Strayhorn Far East Suite, the Boston-area premier of Aardvark guitarist/composer Richard Nelson's Dark Side, and original post-bop explorations by trumpeter-director Mark Harvey.

Aardvark’s previous shows at the Regattabar sold-out, so buy your tickets now!

Thurs., Feb. 28, 8:30 pm -- Two Sets
Regattabar | Charles Hotel | 617.876.7777 | One Bennett Street | Cambridge, MA 02138

::   Sat., 02.09.02  Concert at Bowdoin College
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra arrived at Memorial Hall, Pickard Theater (302) (Bowdoin College Campus) on Saturday, February 9 at 7:30 p.m. for a roof-raising concert of Duke Ellington classics plus original compositions by music director Mark Harvey and noted jazz guitarist/former Bowdoin faculty member Richard Nelson. The concert is part of the Bowdoin department of music’s 2001-2002 Concert Series. Attendance numbered six hundred.

Aardvark played a selection of Ellington tunes including “Caravan,” “Such Sweet Thunder,” and “Concerto for Cootie.” Richard Nelson, guitarist with Aardvark and well known to Maine jazz fans, premiered a new arrangement of his composition “Dark Side,” heard in trio format on his recent CD Figurations, released on the Invisible Music label (see also Richard Nelson's page). Mark Harvey’s originals included his exuberant political satire “Scamology,” winner of the 2000 Independent Music Awards, and “Swing Landscape,” his critically acclaimed tribute to painter Stuart Davis.

$10 general admission, $8 seniors/Bowdoin Friends, free with Bowdoin ID
Tickets at David Saul Smith Union information desk: 207-725-3375
Directions  |  Map

::   Sat., 12.15.01  29th Annual Christmas Concert

For these troubled times and in the spirit of the season, Meditations on Peace is the theme, with proceeds donated to Afghan refugee relief. The concert will feature director Mark Harvey's latest work New Moon Rising,written in response to the tragic events of September 11. The program will also include music dedicated to the cause of peace and updated arrangements of carols from around the world. Join this renowned orchestra for a special musical event and a worthy cause.

The band's inaugural concert in December 1973 was a Christmas concert to benefit the Chelsea Fire Fund. Every year since then, Aardvark has held a Christmas benefit concert for organizations such as Rosie’s Place, the Pine Street Inn, Streetpeople Unlimited, Youth on Fire, and many more.

This year, Aardvark’s Christmas concert is presented in conjunction with “A Night of Light,” a collaborative project bringing together diverse artists and communities across greater Boston for the benefit of Afghan refugees. Proceeds will go to Doctors Without Borders to provide care for Afghan children and their families.

Harvard-Epworth United Methodist Church  |  1555 Mass Ave  |  Cambridge, MA  |  8 PM
Tickets: $10  |  Info: 617.452.3205  |  Click here for directions.

::   Sun., 11.18.01  Museum of Fine Arts
Jazz Series I:  American Originals

Boston’s renowned Aardvark Jazz Orchestra opens the MFA’s 2001-2002 Jazz Series with a concert of American Originals on November 18, at 3:00 p.m., in the museum’s Remis Auditorium. The concert includes director Mark Harvey’s critically acclaimed tribute to painter Stuart Davis, the premiere of Peter H. Bloom’s arrangement of Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s “Bamboula,” and improvisations to the animated films of Kate Matson, plus Ives, Ellington and other Mark Harvey originals. Expect an unusually eclectic mix with stellar solos from Taylor Ho-Bynum, Phil Scarff, Arni Cheatham, Daniel Ian Smith, Bill Lowe, Bob Pilkington, and other fine players.

The MFA Jazz Series continues with concerts by Titilayo Ngwenya (December 2), the Danilo Perez Trio (February 10) and The Henry Cook Band with Bobby Ward (April 14). All concerts are at 3:00 p.m. in Remis Auditorium.

Museum of Fine Art  |  465 Huntington Ave  |  Boston, MA  |  3 PM
Click here for the MFA site

To charge tickets, call (617) 369-3770 or the MFA 24-hour recorded line, (617) 369-3306, or fax (617) 369-3150.
Single Tickets $16 MFA members, students, and senior citizens (Members may order 2 tickets per concert at this price)
$20 General admission
$9 Children 8-17 (children under 8 are not admitted)
$9 Student Rush (if available) only at the door, 15 minutes before the concert. Please present a valid student ID.

::   Sun.,10.14.01  Autumn Uprising Festival of Improvised Music

Soundscapes for Improvising Orchestra

Institute of Contemporary Art  |  955 Boylston St.  |  Boston, MA  |  8 PM
Tickets: 617.266.5152  |  General Info: 617.560.6877
Click here for coverage of previous festivals.  

::   Wed., 09.19.01  Aardvark Headlines the Equinox Music Festival

Headlining the Equinox Music Festival is the Aarvark Jazz Orchestra playing original compositions featuring The Seeker, inspired by John Coltrane; Scamology, winner of the 2000 Independent Music Award--Best Jazz Recording; and a premier of a new work by music director, Mark Harvey.

Sanders Theatre  |  Harvard University  |  Cambridge, MA  8 PM
Tickets: 617.496.2222  |  Save 10% (use code word: "rebecca")

About the Equinox Music Festival  (
This event featuring the 24th Annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert will take place September 19-23, in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Also playing are pianist, Joanne Brackeen, the Grammy-nominated Asian American Orchestra, the 2001 John Coltrane Memorial Concert Ensemble with Alvin Batiste (celebrating the 75th birthday anniversary of John Coltrane) and special guest artists.

For more info, including venues and ticketing, contact J. Thomas Duffy, Director, Equinox Music Festival
Tel: 617.864.0954  |

Aardvark Returns to the Regattabar

This sold-out summer sizzler featured Ellington's Solitude and Gershwin's Summertime in fresh arrangements by Mark Harvey with vocal stylings by Jerry Edwards. The program also included a blues, some big band bebop, and the Aardvark premier of a new Harvey composition Flex.   This unique event showcased the past, present and leading-edge of jazz all in one high energy show.

Wed., July 18, 8:30 pm
Regattabar | Charles Hotel | One Bennett Street | Cambridge, MA 02138

Trumpet Madness
Over 200 people turned out for an Evening of Exploratory Improvisation and Composition featuring the stellar musicians of Aardvark and special guest artists, Rajesh Mehta and Paul Lovens

At this event, Aardvark's adventurous undertakings paid tribute to the long tradition of trumpet explorers from Buddy Bolden to Lester Bowie.

Aardvark was joined by Raj Mehta, trumpet, hybrid trumpet, and bass trumpet, and Paul Lovens, percussion.  Both are internationally known and respected improvisers who create unique sounds individually and together. "Startling," "audacious," and "inexpressible in words" are terms used by critics around the world to describe their musical investigations. The duo was featured in the premier of Spirals, a Concerto for Improvisers by Mark Harvey and the entire Aardvark Jazz Orchestra.

April 28, 8 pm |  Kresge Auditorium |
M.I.T. | Cambridge, MA

Aardvark at the Regattabar
The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra's debut performance at the Regattabar: the perfect start to Spring.
If you were part of the packed house at Aardvark's March Regattabar show, the sounds of Aardvark may still be ringing in your ears. Attendees discovered what music in the New Millenium is all about.
"...give this groundbreaking music a listen!" Jazz Now

Wed., March 21
Regattabar | Charles Hotel | One Bennett Street | Cambridge, MA 02138

Radio >>
Recently, Mark Harvey joined several the following local radio stations as they spotlighted Aardvark's music and recent shows: 

Friday, December 13 at 12 noon
What's Happening

   WHRB, 95.3 FM 

Mark Harvey will be interviewed on WHRB's "What's Happening" on Friday, December 13 at 12 noon, talking about the 30th Annual Christmas concert, the 2 new CDs that Aardvark is releasing and more. Tune In! Listen Online!

Film >>
AARDVARK Musicians featured on “Treasures of American Film Archives,” A Millennium Project Organized by the National Film Preservation Foundation
Negro Leagues Baseball: Reece “Goose” Tatum, the Indianapolis Clowns and the Kansas City Monarchs (1946)

For half a century, African American baseball players had their own leagues, apart from the all-white Majors. These rare pieces of unedited silent footage of Negro American League players, shot in September 1946 at Cincinnati's Crosley Field, focus on the amazing Reece "Goose" Tatum (1921-67) of the Indianapolis Clowns, who, rather than playing straight baseball, entertained with comedy along the lines of the Harlem Globetrotters' basketball skills. Tatum and his teammates warm up with comic routines, followed by a game against the Kansas City Monarchs. While some players expressed resentment at the team for perpetuating the image of a "clownish race," they twice won the league's Eastern Division title and in 1952 featured Henry Aaron as shortstop.

About the Music
During the 1920s, if not before, musicians who played in movie houses within African American communities adopted a broad range of approaches, freely mixing the usual traditions with varied styles of jazz improvisation. The first piece is a good-natured send-up of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," followed by freer improvisations based on familiar styles, from blues to bebop.

Four Aardvark musicians as "The Jazztet", Mark Harvey, Arni Cheatham, Bill Lowe, and Jesse Williams, joined by Larry Carsman and John Connelly, are featured performers on the improvised soundtrack to Negro Leagues Baseball: Reece “Goose” Tatum, the Indianapolis Clowns and the Kansas City Monarchs. This film is included among fifty silent films rarely seen since their release decades ago. The entire collection is now available on DVD.

* Program Notes compiled from the original DVD booklet by Scott Simmon and Martin Marks

For more info: National Film Perservation  |  Turner Classic Movies Series.

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