Aardvark Jazztet – THROUGH THE JAZZ DECADES: From New Orleans to the Great American Songbook

July 29, 2012 @ 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Union Church
133 Old Church Rd
Claremont, NH 03743
No admission charge, donations encouraged
Melissa Richmond


Photo by Kate Matson


Mark Harvey, trumpet and music director

Arni Cheatham, saxophones ~ Peter H. Bloom, flutes and saxophones

John Funkhouser, piano ~ Jesse Williams, string bass ~ Harry Wellott, drums



From New Orleans to the Great American Songbook,

From Miles Davis to Mark Harvey


The Aardvark Jazztet (drawn from the legendary Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, 39th season) will present an exhilarating musical tour across the many decades of jazz history, from the New Orleans brass band staple Down by the Riverside to the Miles Davis modal masterpiece All Blues to music director Mark Harvey’s original compositions (“captivating, highly recommended” – Jazz Improv). Along the way, the stellar sextet will perform well-known tunes by George Gershwin (A Foggy Day), Fats Waller (Ain’t Misbehavin’), Duke Ellington (It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got that Swing) and more.  Dr. Harvey, who teaches jazz history at MIT and lectures widely on many eras and styles of American music, will be the tour guide through this panoramic jazz soundscape.

The musicians of the Aardvark Jazztet are members of the legendary Aardvark Jazz Orchestra (now in its 39th season) led by founder and music director Mark Harvey. These six musicians have impressive credentials playing with leading jazz, blues, and classical ensembles as well as national and international touring experience. Among its many appearances, the Aardvark Jazztet has appeared at the the National Gallery (Washington, DC), Emmanuel Church, Old South Church, Harvard University, Zeitgeist Gallery, MIT, and the Rockport Music Festival. The group has improvised soundtracks for silent films in the critically-acclaimed DVD series Treasures from the American Film Archives, which The New York Times called “one of the best sets of the year.”

Winner of the 2000 Independent Music Awards, the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra has been hailed as “a genuine musical treasure” (The Boston Globe) and praised for “a saxophonic blend worthy of Ellington’s finest reed sections” (JazzTimes). The band has premiered 130 works for jazz orchestra and has released 10 CDs to international acclaim. Trumpeter-composer Mark Harvey has recorded with George Russell (Blue Note) and Baird Hersey (Arista/Novus) and performed with Gil Evans, Claudio Roditi, Howard McGhee, Sam Rivers, and others. A winner of awards from ASCAP, the National Endowment, and Meet-the-Composer-Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Commissioning Program, Dr. Harvey teaches jazz studies at MIT. 

Mark Harvey, trumpet/music director, is an award-winning composer with more than 130 compositions in his catalogue; he is the founder, principal composer and arranger, and music director of the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, now completing its 39th performing season; and he is a trumpeter who has performed and recorded widely with such notables as George Russell, Baird Hersey, Claudio Roditi, and Gil Evans. Dr. Harvey teaches jazz studies at MIT, has published numerous articles on jazz and American music, and has lectured at many colleges, universities and scholarly conferences, including Harvard University, University of Chicago, University of California at San Diego, Boston University (Brown Lectures), and the Duke Ellington Society, among others. He is a winner of awards and commissions from ASCAP, the National Endowment, Meet-the-Composer-Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Commissioning Program, and others.

In three decades as a jazz saxophonist, Arni Cheatham has appeared with such notables as Jimmy Giuffre, Herb Pomeroy, Charlie Persip, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and Son Seals and has opened for legends Cab Calloway and Gary Burton. He is a 34-year veteran with the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, having played lead alto with the band since its founding in 1973. Cheatham leads his own jazz ensemble Smoke, which performs in diverse New England venues. He was a co-founder with Mark Harvey of the Jazz Coalition of Boston and, for 12 years, led the JazzEd program, bringing jazz education and performance to schools throughout the greater Boston area during the desegregation era of the 1970s. He is also an accomplished photographer; his work was featured on the Chronicle series of Boston’s Channel 5.

Peter H. Bloom, flutes/saxophones, has performed in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and appears on 30 CDs from labels including Leo Records, 9Winds, SONY Classical, and Dorian. His career encompasses exploratory jazz, new and improvised music, jazz standards, blues, bebop, and chamber music from the Renaissance to the 21st century. He has worked with Mark Harvey since 1969, has performed with the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra for 35 years, appears on 10 Aardvark CDs, and has performed with such noted Aardvark guest artists as Jaki Byard, Sheila Jordan, Geri Allen, Jay Clayton, Walter Thompson, and Raj Mehta. He has appeared with the Jazz Expansions Orchestra, Composers in Red Sneakers, Underground Composers, the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, and Todd Brunel’s Vortex Series for New and Improvised Music, among others. He has given lectures, workshops, and master classes worldwide on improvisation, new music, and historical performance.

John Funkhouser has appeared with many acclaimed jazz performers including Luciana Souza, Yoron Israel, Laszlo Gardony, Ron Savage, Tierney Sutton, Stan Strickland, Bob Gullotti, and fourteen-year-old piano prodigy Matt Savage, (with whom he appeared on ABC’s 20/20 and NBC’s the Today Show). As the leader of his own band FunkHouse and as a sideman, he has performed at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Pittsburgh’s Mellon Jazz Festival, Oklahoma City’s Jazz In June, and other festivals. He has performed in over 20 American cities and has toured from Paris to Shanghai. He has recorded with James Merenda’s Masked Marvels, Pierre Hurel, Laura Allen, Willie Myette, Thomas Luescher, John Lockwood, The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, and FunkHouse, among others. In 2003, Funkhouser returned to his classical roots, joining the bass section of the New England Philharmonic under conductor Richard Pittman. He teaches Bass, Ear Training, and Ensembles at Berklee College of Music.

Jesse Williams has played in Al Kooper’s band since October 2005 when they traveled to Tokyo together. He was a member of Duke Robillard’s band for four years, recorded five CDs with Duke, and was nominated for a Grammy in 2006 for his playing on Guitar Grooverama. Jesse has toured internationally and has performed with noted players such as Jay McShann, Little Milton, Johnnie Johnson, Ronnie Earl, Maria Muldaur, Percy Sledge, Jimmy McGriff, Billy Novick, Jazz Composer’s Alliance, Bruce Katz, John Hammond, Billy Boy Arnold, Marsha Ball, Grand Mixer DXT, Mike Phillips, and Henry Butler.

Harry Wellott studied with celebrated percussion master Elvin Jones and often incorporates polyrhythmic aspects into his performance as well as influences from Latin and African sources. With the quartet Ribs, he toured throughout New England, performing improvisational scores for silent film classics such as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Spies, as well as Buster Keaton’s masterpiece, The General. He can be heard, with other Aardvark players, in jazz improvisations to silent films on the historic Treasures from American Film Archives DVD collection. He has performed with Jaki Byard, Jay Clayton, Jimmy Giuffre, and teenage piano prodigy Matt Savage, among others.


The Aardvark Jazztet and The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra

are managed exclusively by Americas Musicworks

Rebecca DeLamotte, Managing Director

Telephone: 617-776-8778 Email: [email protected]


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