The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, one of the longest running large jazz ensembles in North America, is celebrating its 44th season with a salute to the great Duke Ellington. 

The legendary band, led by founder/director Mark Harvey, will perform classics like “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “Satin Doll,” “C Jam Blues,” “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” and Billy Strayhorn’s “Daydream,” plus music from Ellington’s film scores (including “Wild Man Moore” for Louis Armstrong), and his New Orleans Suite (with a tribute to Mahalia Jackson).

Since 1973, the adventurous Aardvark has been on the cutting edge of large jazz ensembles, premiering more than 130 works for jazz orchestra. With wide-ranging performances in festivals, clubs, concert halls, colleges and universities, the Aardvark have forged a reputation for its dazzling live concerts. The group has won various awards over the years, including one in 2000 for Jazz Song at the 1st Annual Independent Music Awards (“Scamology”).  The band has recorded 14 CDs, including 8 discs on the prestigious Leo Records label.

Music director Mark Harvey has performed as trumpeter in the U.S., Mexico and Europe; has recorded with George Russell (Blue Note) and Baird Hersey (Arista/Novus); and performed with Gil Evans, Claudio Roditi, Howard McGhee, Sam Rivers,  and other notables.  He has received awards and commissions from ASCAP, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the 15th Annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert, MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, and Meet-the-Composer-Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Commissioning Program, among others.  Dr. Harvey teaches jazz studies and composition at MIT.  He is winner of the 2015 Boston Jazz Hero Award from the Jazz Journalists Association.

“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…On Aardvark!” – JazzTimes