All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Aardvark Jazz Orchestra

Aardvark Jazz Orchestra Aardvark Jazz 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 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 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).

Read more


Multiple Reviews
Album Review
Read more articles
Aardvark has won praise from jazz critics across the globe. 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..

Read more



Album Impressions by Aardvark Jazz Orchestra


Leo Records



Leo Records



Benny Goodman Benny Goodman
Benny Carter Benny Carter
saxophone, alto
Bing Crosby Bing Crosby
voice / vocals
Peggy Lee Peggy Lee
voice / vocals
Charlie Barnet Charlie Barnet
Sonny Burke Sonny Burke

Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.