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Aardvark Jazz Orchestra Salutes Ellington at Emmanuel Church Boston, A Jazz Boston Kickoff Event


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The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra (38th season, Mark Harvey Music Director) celebrates Duke Ellington at Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116, on Saturday April 30, 2011 at 8:00 pm. Tickets: $15. Call 617 776 8778. The show is a Weekend Kickoff Event in Jazz Boston's Jazz Week.

Expect an exhilarating mix of classics and rarities from Ellington's 5 decades of composing, including The Mooche, Solitude, Caravan, Wild Man Blues (from the major motion picture Paris Blues), and Billy Strayhorn's Daydream. Sacred music will be drawn from the Second Sacred Concert, performed by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra at Emmanuel Church in 1969, including Heaven, It's Freedom, The Shepherd, and Praise God and Dance. Guest vocalist Dominique Eade and guest narrator Robert Honeysucker will join Aardvark vocalists Jerry Edwards and Grace Hughes in featured roles. With global distribution of 10 CDs and wide-ranging performances in festivals, clubs, concert halls, colleges and universities, Aardvark has been a major force in the international jazz scene for almost 40 years. 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."

Now in its 38th season, The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra is known for its exhilarating concerts spanning the jazz and American music spectrum. Winner of the Independent Music Awards, the band has released 10 CDs to international critical acclaim, including 5 discs on the Leo Records Label. Aardvark has performed all-Ellington concerts for two decades throughout New England, including a major performance at MIT for the Ellington Centennial (1999), recorded by WGBH radio with portions later released on the Aardvark CD Duke Ellington/ Sacred Music (Aardmuse). Music director Mark Harvey has transcribed many Ducal works, and has written and lectured about Ellington for many years. His review of Harvey G. Cohen's monumental new book Duke Ellington's America (Chicago) will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of American Music. In 1989, Harvey co-produced an Ellington Sacred Concert at Boston Symphony Hall performed by the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington. In 1974, Harvey was an usher at Ellington's funeral.

Mark Harvey and Aardvark have enjoyed a long relationship with Emmanuel Church. The band was in residence from 1974 to 1992, and over the past decade has resumed its Annual Christmas Benefit Concert tradition at Emmanuel. Harvey based his Jazz/Arts Ministry and the affiliated Jazz Coalition there in the 1970s and 1980s, presenting concerts, liturgies, festivals and major events such as Mary Lou Williams' Mass (1976) and the world premiere of George Russell's The African Game (1983).

Jazz vocalist Dominique Eade has been praised by New York Times Magazine as “an impossibly versatile vocalist, composer, lyricist and instrumental arranger." She has been a clinician and performer throughout the United States and Europe. She has performed extensively with Ran Blake and with other notables including Anthony Braxton, Bill Frisell, Cecil McBee, Gene Bertoncini, Bill Pierce, Billy Drummond, Larry Goldings, John Medeski, Bob Moses, Mick Goodrick, Donald Brown, Ben Street, Kenny Wolesson and Fred Hersch. She can be heard on RCA Victor, Accurate, and other labels.

Baritone Robert Honeysucker is recognized internationally for his brilliant opera, concert and recital performances. He has performed in the U.S., Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Middle East. Honored as the Boston Globe's Musician of the Year in 1995, Mr. Honeysucker has been a winner of the National Opera Association Artists Competition and a recipient of the Jacopo Peri Award. He has performed with opera companies in Boston, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Tulsa, and Fort Worth, and in opera houses in Auckland, NZ; Berlin, and Linz, Austria. Orchestral performances have included appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Kurt Mazur); the Salt Lake Symphony (Keith Lockhart); the Pittsburgh Symphony (Michael Tilson Thomas); other U.S. orchestras; and symphonies in Japan. Mr. Honeysucker's discography includes five Videmus discs, a CD recently released by the Jubilee Trio titled Let's Have a Union (Brave Records), and featured roles on the Centaur, Ongaku and Titanic labels.

With global distribution of 10 CDs and wide-ranging performances in festivals, clubs, concert halls, colleges and universities, The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra has been a major force in the international jazz scene for almost 40 years. Winner of the 2000 Independent Music Awards, the band is known for its exhilarating concerts spanning the jazz spectrum, from original works by founder/music director Mark Harvey to the music of Duke Ellington and other jazz greats to performances with film, dance, and poetry. Now in its 38th season, Aardvark has premiered more than 120 works for jazz orchestra and has released 10 CDs to rave reviews around the globe, including 5 discs on the prestigious Leo Records label. The band's latest release, American Agonistes was hailed as “a stunning hour of music that is in turn beautiful, poignant and raucous" (Billboard.com). Guest artists who've appeared with Aardvark include Sheila Jordan, Jaki Byard, Jimmy Giuffre, Geri Allen, Jay Clayton, Walter Thompson, Taylor Ho Bynum, Rajesh Mehta, Paul Lovens, and Harvie Swartz.

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. An internationally acclaimed composer with over 120 works in his catalogue, he has received awards and commissions from ASCAP, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the 15th Annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert, the Organization of American Kodaly Educators, the MIT Wind Ensemble and Meet-the-Composer-Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Commissioning Program, among others. Commissions have featured such notables as Joe Lovano, Steve Turre, Herb Pomeroy and Ran Blake. Dr. Harvey teaches jazz studies at MIT.

Aardvark is: Arni Cheatham, Peter H. Bloom, Phil Scarff, Chris Rakowski, Dan Zupan/saxophones & woodwinds; K.C. Dunbar, Jeanne Snodgrass/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/vocalist; Mark Harvey/trumpet, music director.

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