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 13 CDs to international critical acclaim, including 7 recordings on Leo Records, one of the world's leading adventuresome music labels. Aardvark’s CD, Evocations, was named by The New York City Jazz Record as one of the magazine’s picks for Best of 2012. The band's latest CD, Deep River, is reviewed in allaboutjazz.com http://www.allaboutjazz.com/deep-river- richard-nelson-large-ensemble-heliotrope-review-by-budd- kopman.php
Guest artists have included luminaries Geri Allen, Jaki Byard, Dominique Eade, Robert Honeysucker, Sheila Jordan, Jay Clayton, Jimmy Giuffre, Vinny Golia, Rajesh Mehta, Lewis Porter, Paul Lovens, Matt Savage, and Walter Thompson. 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 Annual Conference of the Society for Arts, Religion and Culture (2012) and other events. Members of Aardvark performed improvised soundtracks for the National Film Preservation Foundation’s DVD Series Treasures from the American Film Archives, which won Best DVD Series at Il Cinema Ritrovato Festival, Bologna (2006).