Faces of Souls
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra
Leo Records CD LR 877 $14.97
The legendary Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, led by founder/director Mark Harvey since 1973, has been called “stunningly beautiful and adventurous,” (The New York City Jazz Record), “captivating” (Jazz Improv), “spellbinding” (The Boston Globe), and “one of the best jazz ensembles in the world” (Jazz Podium, Germany). In 2020, the band released its 16th CD, Faces of Souls, featuring seven masterful compositions by band leader Harvey. The title track takes its inspiration from the Shaw Memorial in Boston, Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ powerful sculpture of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and his 54th Massachusetts Regiment, who were among the first African Americans to fight in the Civil War. A companion piece, Consecration, also evokes the Shaw Memorial. The other five pieces expand on the album’s themes of social justice and democratic values: Of the People, an allusion to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Sisyphus for the perennial struggle toward progress, Meltdown (conveying the turmoil and exhaustion of our current zeitgeist), Greta for the young climate activist, and Lament for the City, for the late Kip Tiernan, a tireless advocate for the dispossessed in Boston.
The New York City Jazz Record selected Aardvark’s Faces of Souls CD as one of five recordings in their “Best of 2020” Large Ensemble Releases category.
Jean Buzelin wrote in CultureJazz.fr, August 16, 2020: “The complexity and precision of the writing, the magnificence of the arrangements, the subtlety of the timbre, the space that is open to soloists…contribute to a music that is perfectly easy to read, avoids being too busy or inflated, and never comes at the expense of swing…Mark Harvey has an uncanny mastery for balancing and opposing orchestral masses, and he daringly creates unusual associations and complex rhythms. His orchestra “rings”, the nuances stand out, the colors vibrate, the power is expressed fully."
For more accolades, see Troy Dostert’s review of Faces of Souls in The Free Jazz Collective: https://www.freejazzblog.org/2020/09/aardvark-jazz-orchestra-faces-of-souls.html.
Listen to "Lament for the City" from the Faces of Souls CD on YouTube; this track opens with a lovely flute solo by Peter H. Bloom.
Eminent jazz writer and historian Bob Blumenthal interviewed Mark Harvey and played excerpts from Faces of Souls during a livestream CD celebration on November 15, 2020. A recording of the event has been posted on the M.I.T. Music & Theater Arts website at https://mta.mit.edu/events/rebroadcast-aardvark-virtual-livestream-interview-and-cd-release.
Noteworthy Sheet Music is pleased to offer the CDs on behalf of Mark Harvey. To order Faces of Souls for $14.97, please use the Noteworthy Sheet Music Contact Us form to let us know which CD(s) you would like to purchase, along with your email contact information and shipping address. For orders shipping to addresses in the USA, a $4.99 shipping and handling fee will be added; for international orders shipping outside the USA, the fee is $14.99. We will send you a PayPal invoice for the sale and, once we receive notice from PayPal that you have paid for the item(s), Americas Musicworks will ship your CD(s) to the address provided, for delivery in 7-10 days.