Primary Instrument: Band/orchestra
The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, founded in 1973, is one of the longest continuously operating large jazz ensembles in the world. The orchestra performs original compositions by its founder and music director Mark Harvey as well as classics from the jazz tradition, American music, world music, and in collaboration with dance, film, poetry, choral, chamber, and symphonic ensembles. Aardvark has premiered more than 150 works and has released 11 CDs to international critical acclaim, including 6 recordings on Leo Records, one of the world's leading adventuresome music labels. Aardvark’s latest CD, Evocations, was named by The New York City Jazz Record as one of the magazine’s picks for Best of 2012....
Awards:Included in Best of 2012 picks by New York City Jazz Record Best jazz recording, Independent Music Awards, 2000
Allaboutjazz.com praised the group's lush sonorities...a saxophonic blend worthy of Duke's finest reed sections.
JazzTimes called Aardvark “a bracing walk on the wild side of the big band spectrum...Aardvark suggests the best and the brashest of Charles Mingus, Gil Evans, George Russell, and even Frank Zappa.”
Other kudos include:
“The AJO has become adept over the years at blending improvised and compositional elements, full-on free-for-all and the most delicate of sound patterns….admirers of large-scale improvised jazz will be delighted with the exuberance, imagination and sheer brio in evidence throughout this rich, absorbing album.” ~ Chris Parker, Jazz Review, United Kingdom
“Expansive harmony, brilliant music... discipline, openness, and freedom: a sumptuous work… an exceptional big band.” ~ CultureJazz.Fr (France)
“The colorful refinement of Gil Evans' works, the harmonic, dissonant edge worthy of Stan Kenton, and also some nasty jazz kick in the spirit of Mingus. Spirited composition and inspired playing.”
~ Jazz Alchemist, Poland
“a stunning hour of music that is, in turn, beautiful, poignant and raucous” ~ Billboard.com