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Aardvark Jazz Orchestra: 40th Annual Christmas Concert -- Dec. 15, 2012


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Jerry Edwards, Grace Hughes, and Donna Hewitt-Didham, vocalists

Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 8:00 pm
Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116
Admission: $15
Information: 617-776-8778 or 617-452-3205

Praised by CultureJazz.Fr (France) for “expansive harmony, brilliant music...discipline, openness, and freedom,” the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra will present its 40th Annual Christmas Concert, a Boston holiday tradition. http://www.aardvarkjazz.com

The concert, Music in the Spirit of the Season, will feature the world premieres of two pieces by Mark Harvey: Fanfare for 40 and Children's Carol, along with music from the very first Aardvark Christmas concert in 1973: the Advent hymn Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence and Duke Pearson's Cristo Redentor (both arrangements by Harvey). In honor of the 40-year mark, the band will play selections from all four decades of the Aardvark holiday tradition, including Harvey's Benedictus (performed at every Aardvark Christmas since 1982), Sugar Rum Cherry from the Ellington-Strayhorn Nutcracker Suite, and jazz updates of favorite carols like Silent Night.

Proceeds will benefit Community Works (celebrating 30 years of cooperative fundraising among Boston-area service organizations) and Emmanuel Church.

Aardvark gave its inaugural concert December 23, 1973, at the Church of the Covenant in Boston as a benefit for the Chelsea Fire Fund. Every year since then, the band has held a Christmas concert to support a deserving cause. Past beneficiaries have included Doctors Without Borders, American Friends Service Committee, Rosie’s Place, Pine Street Inn, The Massachusetts Council of Churches, The Poor Peoples United Fund and others. Aardvark’s music has been called “stunning… beautiful, poignant and raucous.” (Billboard.com)

A major force in the international jazz scene for 40 years, the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra is one of the longest running large jazz ensembles in North America. Winner of the 2000 Independent Music Awards, the band has premiered more than 130 works for jazz orchestra. Guest artists who have appeared with Aardvark include jazz luminaries Jaki Byard, Sheila Jordan, Jimmy Giuffre, Geri Allen, Lewis Porter, Vinny Golia, Dominique Eade, Jay Clayton, Paul Lovens, Rajesh Mehta, Matt Savage and Walter Thompson.

Aardvark's 40th season features the international release of Evocations, the band's 11th CD and its 6th recording on Leo Records, a leading independent label whose catalogue includes such notables as Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Anthony Braxton and The Art Ensemble of Chicago. Evocations has been praised for “spirited composition and inspired playing” (Jazz Alchemist, Poland) and “never-ending movement, change, turbulence, playfulness, contradictions… provokes and surprises” (Uni Magazine, Czech Republic).

Founder and 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, Joe Carroll, Kenny Dorham and others. He has received awards and commissions from ASCAP, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the 15th Annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert, and Meet-the-Composer-Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Commissioning Program, among others. Commissions have featured such revered artists as Joe Lovano, Steve Turre, Herb Pomeroy and Ran Blake. Dr. Harvey teaches jazz studies and composition at MIT.

Aardvark is: Arni Cheatham, Peter Bloom, Phil Scarff, Chris Rakowski, Dan Zupan/saxophones & woodwinds; K.C. Dunbar, Jeanne Snodgrass, Taylor Ho Bynum/trumpets; Bob Pilkington, Jay Keyser/trombones; Jeff Marsanskis, Bill Lowe/bass trombones, tuba; Richard Nelson/guitar; John Funkhouser/string bass; Harry Wellott/drums; Jerry Edwards, Grace Hughes and Donna-Hewitt-Didham, vocalists; Mark Harvey/trumpet, music director.

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