Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Harvey, Mark

Harvey, Mark (Sumner), trumpeter, pianist, composer, arranger, minister, educator; b. Binghamton, NY, July 4, 1946. 

Hiswife is Kate Matson, a visual artist and filmmaker.  His mother was Marjorie Tolley Harvey, born in 1909 in Binghamton, NY (d. 1991), and his father was Robert Mark Harvey, born in 1908 in Waterville, NY (d.1977).  Both were musicians and encouraged his musical development. Harvey received a solid musical education through private lessons in both trumpet and piano from age 10  and in the Binghamton public schools, playing in orchestras, concert and marching bands, as well as jazz bands.  His fascination with big bands began at the age of 14 while a member of the Roberson Cultural Center's jazz ensemble, modeled on the Newport Youth Band.  Important teachers were Jack Peters, who led the Roberson group, Bernard Shifrin, his high school band director and private trumpet instructor, and Don Grey, his private jazz piano instructor.   While at Syracuse University (BA in American studies, 1968), he played with the "unofficial" school big band led by Steve Marconi and Howie Wyeth and began his composing career, writing two jazz liturgical services which he conducted in Hendricks Chapel.  His BA thesis was a study of jazz and religion.  He moved to Boston, MA in 1968 to begin theological studies at Boston University School of Theology (Th.M, 1971), and concurrently studied with both Jaki Byard and George Russell at the New  England Conservatory of Music (1970-1972), major influences on his musical thinking.   During this time, and in the years following as he pursued doctoral studies at Boston University (Ph.D in religious and theological studies, 1983), and received ordination in the United Methodist Church (deacon, 1970; elder, 1975), he founded the Jazz/Arts Ministry.  This was based at Old West Church (1969-1973), the Church of the Covenant (1973-1975), Emmanuel Church (1975- 1992), all in Boston, and at the Harvard-Epworth United Methodist Church, Cambridge, MA (1992--present).  Modeled on the work of a key mentor and friend, the Reverend John  Garcia Gensel, for many years pastor to New York's jazz community, and later advised by another key mentor and friend, the Reverend Al Kershaw, rector of Emmanuel Church, this ministry was an outreach to musicians and the musical community, offering counseling, performing marriages and funerals, and presenting such activities as jazz liturgies, the weekly Jazz Celebrations concert series, and an annual Jazz All Night concert. He also founded the Jazz Coalition, Inc., a  non--profit organization which produced the annual Boston Jazz Week festivals and enabled the JazzEd Program, founded by Arni Cheatham,  especially during Boston's desegregation process in the mid-1970s.  In 1983, through the Jazz Coalition, Harvey wrote the commissioning grant and produced the world premier of George Russell's Grammy-nominated "African Game" composition.  * From the 1980s to the present, he  has been a member of numerous boards and committees on the Boston  arts, religion, and culture scene.

In 2007, he co-chaired Jazz Week, a project of the newly-formed JazzBoston and a concept he and the Jazz Coalition had inaugurated in 1973. He currently serves on the board of JazzBoston.*
For the past decade, Harvey has focused his ministry on writing and lecturing on jazz and religion, presenting jazz liturgies, and composing music on religious and ethical themes.  He also has pursued a concurrent teaching career, notably  as Lecturer in Music at MIT, teaching courses in jazz history, theory, composition, and other subjects (1981--present) and as an instructor in jazz history at the New England Conservatory (1983--1989).  He has  written and lectured on jazz and on music and religion at universities and academic societies throughout the United States and in Germany and Mexico (Brown Lectures at Boston University, Creative Humanities Lectures at Amarillo College, Improvising Across Borders at University of California at San Diego, 17th International  Duke Ellington  Society Conference, Washington, DC).

Dr. Harvey's professional musical career has included both improvisational groups and large ensembles.   The Mark Harvey Group (with Peter Bloom and Craig Ellis), the Outsider Quartet (with Tom Plsek, John Damian, and John Voigt), Ribs (with Brad Jones, Jerry Edwards, and Harry Wellott), Cochlear Mechanics (with Tom Plsek, Greg Kelley, and Taylor Ho Bynum), and ad hoc bands with Lowell Davidson,  D Sharpe, Marilyn Crispell, Phil Scarff, and Bill Lowe  are the main free improvisational bands/musicians with whom he has worked.  With Claudio Roditi, he formed the Allstars Big Band (1974-1975), and founded his own Aardvark Jazz Orchestra in 1973. (Early members included John  Clark, Tom  Varner, Stanton  Davis, George Garzone, Tom Guralnick,Tom Everett, Tom Pslek, Ken Filiano, and Hollis Headrick.)  Aardvark played only occasionally during the 1970s as Harvey performed both in Boston, New York (Public Theater,  Rashid Ali's bar, Seventh Avenue South), and at the Berlin Jazz Festival with  Baird Hersey's "Year of the Ear" (1975-1980).   Harvey has also performed with Howard McGhee, Gil Evans, George  Russell, Sam Rivers (conducting the Boston Jazz Composers' Alliance Orchestra}, the Big and Phat Jazz Orchestra, and the John Coltrane Memorial Concert Ensemble among others.

Since 1980, Harvey has focused his composing and performing activities on Aardvark for which he serves as music director and principal composer, creating music that blends individual, collective, and conductor's improvisation with complex structures for a distinctive postmodern musical sound and style.  He has composed more than one hundred works, many of them extended duration pieces,, and arranged and/or transcribed numerous other pieces, including music of  Duke Ellington.  With his Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, he has concertized extensively in Boston and the Northeast (Regattabar, Museum of Fine Arts, Berklee Performance Center for First Night, in  Boston, Union Theologlical Seminary, Saint Peter's Church in New York, the Lake George Jazz Festival,  Princeton and  Wesleyan Universities, Bowdoin College and others) and released EIGHT  CD recordings of his original compositions and arrangements, several of them profiled in the Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings and the Gramophone Good Guide to Jazz  CDs.   Guest performers with Aardvark have included Sheila Jordan, Jay Clayton, Jaki Byard, Jimmy  Giuffre, Vinny Golia,  Rajesh Mehta, and Paul Lovens.

As music director/conductor with the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra:
Trumpet Madness (2005) Leo
Duke Ellington/Sacred Music (2002), Aardmuse
Bethlehem Counterpoint, featuring Sheila Jordan (2002), Aardmuse
The Seeker (2000), Leo Lab
"Weird Magnetism," on anthology, Autumn Uprising, Tautology
An Aardvark Christmas (1997), Nine Winds
Psalms & Elegies (1997), Leo Lab
Paintings for Jazz Orchestra (1995) Leo Lab
Aardvark Steps Out (1993), Nine Winds

As conductor:
"Flex," on The Tale of the Sky Swimmer (2002), the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble

As performer, part of collective improvisational groups:
Mark Harvey & Friends/Duets (1982), Aardmuse; re-issued on
ReRelease.net (2007)
The Mark Harvey Group in Concert (1972), Bush: re-issued on
ReRelease.net (2007)

As sideperson:
George Russell : So What (1986), Blue Note
George Russell: The African Game (1985), Blue Note
Baird Hersey: Have You Heard (1979), Arista/Novus
Baird Hersey: Lookin' for that Groove (1977), Arista/Novus
Baird Hersey: Baird Hersey & the Year of the Ear, Bent (1975)

As sideperson on film soundtracks:
    The Cost of Carelessness, Trial Marriages (2007), Treasures III:
Social Issues in American
       Films 1900-1934
    There It Is, Breath of a Nation (2004), More Treasures from
American Film Archives:1894-1931
Francine St.  Claire's Mail (2002), unreleased
Negro Leagues Baseball (2002), Treasures from American Film Archives

As performer on unissued audio and video recordings:
About two hundred hours of private tapes from small and large ensemble performances in various venues, 1970--2007

"Chronicle," WCVB-TV, Boston, profile on Mark Harvey and Aardvark, 2002
"The Connection," WBUR-FM and NPR, program on Mark Harvey and Aardvark, 1998
"CBS Evening News," brief clip of Aardvark as part of New Year's Day roundup, 1986
many interviews on Boston area television and radio stations, 1970--present

Works by Harvey:
"Jazz Time and Our Time," in This is How We Flow: Rhythm in Black Cultures, ed. Angela M.S. Nelson {University of South Carolina Press, 1999)
"Rhythm,  Ritual, and Religion: Postmodern (Musical) Agonistes," in Theomusicology: a Special Issue of Black Sacred Music, 8/1 (spring 1994)
"New  World A'Comin': Religious Perspectives on the Legacy of Duke Ellington," in Sacred Music of the  Secular City: From Blues to Rap/A Special Issue of Black Sacred Music, 6/1 (spring 1992); reprint of same essay originally published in Religion and Intellectual Life, 6/3,4  (spring,summer 1989)
"Jazz and Modernism: Changing Conceptions of Innovation and Tradition," in Jazz in Mind: Essays on the History and Meaning of Jazz, ed. Reginald Buckner and Steven Weiland (Wayne State University Press, 1991) and other essays on non-jazz topics, book  and sound recording
reviews, articles for denominational publications

Works about Harvey, often in conjunction with the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, partial listing
(omitting numerous reviews of performances and recordings as well as quotations in news articles about the Jazz Coalition or about the jazz and arts scene in Boston)

Siddhartha Mitter, "Scene and Heard," in the Boston Globe, April 20, 2007
Rich Barlow, "Finding the Divine in Earthy Rhythms," in the Boston Globe, May 13, 2006
Andrew Shrock, "Arni Cheatham and Mark Harvey: Two of Many," in Ground Lift Magazine, groundliftmag.com/LEVEL2_INTERVIEWS.php?ArticleID=39-40K, 2006
Eddie Jeffries, "Aardvark Jazz Orchestra Turns 30,"  in Jazz Times/Jazz Now, website article, September 30, 2002
Steve Greenlee, "As It Turns 30, Aardvark Maintains Goal of Exploring All Styles, Tastes," in Boston Globe, September 6, 2002
Jon Garelick, "Mark Harvey and Aardvark," in the Boston Phoenix, August 30, 2002
Bob Blumenthal, "This Aardvark is a Mutable Beast," in the  Boston Globe, October 13, 1995
Bob Young, "Painter's Jazzy Art Inspires Arty Jazz," in the Boston Herald, October 12, 1995
Fred Bouchard, "Mark Harvey and  Aardvark," in Downbeat, January, 1994.
Fernando Gonzalez, "Living Out the Joy of Jazz," in the Boston Globe, May 17, 1992
Dan Gewertz, "Gabriel's Trumpeter," in the Boston Sunday Herald, May 18, 1986
William Sonzki, "The High Priest of Boston Jazz," in the Boston Globe, August 10, 1978
also: biographical sketches included in  Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the East, Who's Who in  Religion

Commission for "Vistas," jazz orchestra piece, the Broad Institute of MIT, Harvard, and Affiliated Hospitals, 2006
Commission for "Modern Invention," extended jazz orchestra piece for Jay Clayton and Aardvark, Organization of American Kodaly Educators, 2004.
Commission for "Beyond," extended composition for wind ensemble and jazz soloists,
Herb Pomeroy, Ran Blake,  Arni Cheatham, John Funkhouser, MIT Wind Ensemble, 2004
Commission for "G-Whizz," a trombone quintet for Steve Turre and MIT trombone section, MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, 2004

Commission for "Saxophrenia," a saxophone sextet for Joe Lovano and the MIT sax section,
      MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, 2002
Independent Music Award for Best Jazz Composition, 2000
Commission for "Flex," extended jazz orchestra piece, MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble 2000
American Academy of Religion Research Grant, 1999
Commission for "The Seeker," extended jazz orchestra piece, the 15th Annual John Coltrane  Memorial Concert, 1994
Commission for 'Psalms," extended jazz orchestra piece, Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Commissioning Program, (premieres in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and at Jacob's Pillow), 1989
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, for participation in Institute for the Study of Avant-Gardes, Harvard University, 1987
Elected a Fellow of the Society for the  Arts, Religion, and Contemporary  Culture, 1985
Named a Grand Bostonian, during celebration of  Boston's 350th Anniversary, 1980
      and numerous awards from ASCAP, the MIT Provost's Fund and the Dean's Fund for  Faculty development, and two finalist awards from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation composition fellowship program

WEBSITES that contain profiles:

Website:  aardvarkjazz.com
Email: mharvey@mit.edu
Mail:  PO Box 8721/ JFK Station, Boston MA 02114
Tel:   617/452-3205

Archival materials:
A collection of materials on Mark Harvey, Aardvark, the Jazz Coalition, and related aspects of the Boston jazz scene is held in the MIT Institute Archives and  Special Collections
     Interview, Reflections on Career and Boston Jazz Scene, Oral History Project, the Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA, 2007
     Interview, Reflections on the Jazz Coalition and Boston Public School Desegregation, Oral History
     Project, the John Joseph Moakley Archive, Suffolk University Law School, 2005

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