Profile Type: Artist
NEFA Grant Recipient
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra

JazzTimes hailed the band as "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.”" Founded in 1973, the legendary band performs critically-acclaimed original music by founder/director Mark Harvey, and is known for its exhilarating concerts of Duke Ellington’'s music, works by other American masters, and performances with film, poetry, and dance. Winner of the 2000 Independent Music Awards, the band has premiered 175 new works and released 15 CDs to rave reviews around the globe ("a stunning hour of music that is in turn beautiful, poignant and raucous” -- Trumpeter/composer Mark Harvey won Meet the Composer grants and awards/commissions from ASCAP, National Endowment, and Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Commissioning Program; performed with George Russell, Baird Hersey, Gil Evans, Sam Rivers; teaches at MIT.

Additional Links: 
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra: excerpt from show of All Blues
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra plays No Walls

I Have Worked With

  • April 2019

    On April 6, 2018, internationally acclaimed tenor saxophonist Ricky Ford joined the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra on MIT's Main Stage, Kresge Auditorium, to perform rarities by Duke Ellington and new music by Aardvark director Mark Harvey, including the premiere of his latest work, Of the People. ­­­­­­­­ Aardvark was honored to share the stage with Ricky Ford, who played with the Ellington Orchestra under Mercer Ellington, and with Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, Abdullah Ibrahim, and other luminaries.  Aardvark has given many other concerts at MIT's Kresge Auditorium over the past decades, including premieres of new works by Aardvark director Mark Harvey; celebrations of Duke Ellington and other jazz legends; joint performances with tap dancer Tommy DeFranz and with local choruses and children's choirs; collaborations with MIT Symphony; and  performances with noted guest artists including Jaki Byard, Walter Thompson, Raj Mehta, others.  

  • April 2019

    On April 28, 2019, JazzBoston presented Aardvark music director Mark Harvey with the Roy Haynes Award for life-time contribution to jazz and the jazz community.  Aardvark band members saluted Dr. Harvey with tributes honoring his leadership of the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra (46th season), and his commitment to social justice and outreach in Boston, New England, and beyond.  JazzBoston is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting jazz performances, education, outreach and awareness in the greater Boston area, using jazz to bridge divides, foster creativity, and improve lives.  Mark Harvey is one of four distinguished figures in the jazz community to receive the Roy Haynes Award.  Other recipients are Roy Haynes, Fred Taylor and Eric Jackson.  The event was held at Pastoral in Boston's Fort Point Channel district.

  • February 2019

    On February 22, 2019, musicians of The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra performed with FiLmprov, creating spontaneous film scores through live musical improvisation to the animated films of Kate Matson.  The ensemble in the February 2019 show included Peter H. Bloom, Phil Scarff, Dan Zupan, woodwinds;  Mark Harvey, music director, trumpet; Bill Lowe, trombone;  John Funkhouser, piano, bass; Harry Wellott, drums.  The multi-media show was offered as part of a course in musical improvisation at MIT Cambridge.  Aardvark musicians and filmmaker Kate Matson have collaborated on numerous performances over more than 20 years, including a 20th Anniversary performance in 2016, interweaving music, film and poetry at the Armory Arts Center in Somerville MA.



  • NEFA Grantee
  • Artist

Contact Information

First Name: 
Job Title/Position: 
Mailing Address: 
Americas Musicworks
Physical Address: 
Americas Musicworks 29 Newbury Street
Somerville, MA 02144
Last Name: 


Profile Type: 
Primary Discipline: 
Music - Jazz
Additional Disciplines: 
Literary Arts - Poetry
Media - Film
Music - Jazz
Year Founded: 
Populations Served: 
General Public
Immigrant Populations
People with Disabilities
School Groups
Institution/Business Type: 
Performing Groups
Activities and Services: 
Creation of a Work of Art (Including Commissions)
Film Showings
Performance / Concert / Reading
Residency - Community
Residency - In School
Residency - Other
Workshops / Demonstrations / Master Class
Events Per Year: 
Seasons Active: 
Geographic Reach: 
Multi-State Region

Affiliations and Accomplishments

Professional Associations: 
Jazz Boston
Society of Arts Religion and Culture
Mark Harvey, MIT senior lecturer in music
Mark Harvey holds a BA from Syracuse University, a Th.M from Boston University School of Theology, and a Ph.D from Boston University Graduate School, Division of Theological and Religious Studies with a major in Social Ethics.
Independent Music Award, best jazz recording.
Mark Harvey named Jazz Boston's Man of the Year 2013
Mark Harvey named by Jazz Journalists Association as Boston Jazz Hero 2015
Numerous commissions from MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble have included compositions written for and premiered by Joe Lovano and Steve Turre.
Commission from 15th Annual John Coltrane Memorial Festival
Mark Harvey honored with Roy Haynes Award 2019
I am a NEFA Grant Recipient

I am a Touring Artist

I am NEST eligible
Technical Requirements: 
Stage dimensions 25' x 25'. Concert-quality sound system suitable for 18 to 20-piece orchestra; qualified sound engineer. If available, concert grand piano tuned no more than 48 hours ahead. Film projection eqpmt to be discussed when applicable.
Fee Range Minimum: 
Fee Range Maximum: 
State of Residence: 
Minimum Number of Performers: 
Maximum Number of Performers: 

I am a Teaching Artist

Teaching Settings: 
Arts and Cultural Center / Venue
Community Site / Center
School / University
Subject Areas: 
Arts Integration - History and Social Science
Ages Served: 
Elementary School-age
Middle School-age
High School-age