Aardvark Orchestra Trumpet Madness

Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Aardvark Orchestra began its extensive performing career in 1973, and it shows. Each of the seven compositions, all recorded live at venues in and around MIT, displays a clarity, and inventiveness that, doubtless, give the musicians something they can sink their teeth into. Most of the pieces are by leader Mark Harvey. And Harvey definitely knows his fellow Aardvarks, because he coaxes diaphanous chordal clouds out of trombones and French horn and solid blocks of high brass, all to evocative effect. Only "Choices for Orchestra and Improviser” — a model of structured improvisation with its array of distinctive sections, timbre shifts, and various groupings of instruments and densities of sounds— is by fellow Aardvarkian and cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum. Trumpet Madness also features percussionist Paul Lovens on one tune, the 17-minute "Spiral,” which unfolds, swirls, twists, and curls a relentlessly riveting outward-bound arc of aural activity. For improvisers and listeners alike, this CD will reward repeated listening. (Leo)