Mark Harvey is a musician, educator, minister and jazz community activist. He has blended these career paths for 50 years in Boston and beyond. He founded the Jazz Coalition, the Jazz Celebrations concert series, the Jazz All Nite Concerts, and the Boston Jazz Week festivals. In 2019, Jazz Boston honored Harvey with the Roy Haynes Award for “exceptional contributions to jazz and the jazz community.” In 2015, he was named Boston Jazz Hero by the Jazz Journalists Association.
Mark Harvey is the founder and music director of The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, now in its 49th season. Aardvark has released 16 CDs, including 10 discs on Leo Records, and has hosted such illustrious guest artists as Sheila Jordan, Ricky Ford, Geri Allen, Jaki Byard, and Jimmy Giuffre. Premieres of Harvey's works have featured such notables as Joe Lovano, Steve Turre, Herb Pomeroy and Ran Blake. Harvey has performed in the U.S., Mexico and Europe; has recorded with George Russell and Baird Hersey; and has appeared with Gil Evans, Claudio Roditi, Howard McGhee, Sam Rivers, Kenny Dorham, and other luminaries. He is music director of Kate Matson's FiLmprov, and is Senior Lecturer in Music Emeritus at MIT, where he taught jazz studies for 40 years.
The Mark Harvey Group (MHG) began as an eight-piece band in 1969, playing hard-bop and jazz-rock. The octet, featuring trumpeter Mark Harvey and saxophonist Peter H. Bloom, was Resident Jazz Ensemble at Boston’s historic Old West Church, where Harvey was an intern-minister. In the summer of 1970, the band was chosen as jazz ambassador for Boston’s Summerthing outreach program, playing 42 shows in under-served neighborhoods across the city, while performing in other venues around the region.
By the Fall of 1970, the MHG had morphed into an experimental ensemble, informed by influences from Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, and especially the Art Ensemble of Chicago. The core members were Mark Harvey on brasswinds, Peter H. Bloom on woodwinds, and Craig Ellis and Michael Standish both playing percussion. The MHG played without notated scores. Their collective improvisation and group composition was expressed in the phrase “aural theatre.”
The MHG toured the East Coast in the early 1970s and appeared twice at the All-Nite Soul Concerts at Saint Peter’s Church in New York City (the celebrated “jazz church”), on shared bills with Clark Terry, Rashid Ali, Roswell Rudd, Billy Taylor and other luminaries. Boston performances featured such notables as Ran Blake, Jaki Byard, Ricky Ford, and Phil Wilson.
The group performed over subsequent decades as The New American Music Ensemble and The Aardett, always with Mark and Peter as the core. The Aardett performed for the Dada retrospective at the National Gallery in Washington DC in 2006, and recorded improvised soundtracks for the National Film Preservation Foundation’s DVD Series Treasures from the American Film Archives, from 2000 to 2007.
A Rite for All Souls is a long-lost concert recording, never previously heard. The two-CD set presents a performance by The Mark Harvey Group on October 31, 1971 in the sanctuary of Boston’s venerable Old West Church. The original reel-to-reel recording, lost for almost 5 decades, was re-discovered in 2018 and has been digitally re-mastered - a significant document of the avant-garde musical scene 50 years ago.
The live performance of A Rite for All Souls was a musical celebration and meditation, honoring souls departed and souls surviving during that turbulent time in American culture. Through the dramatic arc of the concert, the ensemble gave voice to outrage and compassion, mourning and commemoration, spiritual healing and the rediscovery of a common humanity.
In this new CD, we provide the entire, unedited recording of A Rite for All Souls. The concert was performed in two parts, each half approximately 48 minutes. Each disc in the set contains one complete and uninterrupted part. No material has been added, excised, or modified. A booklet provides historical context.
A Rite for All Souls available from Noteworthy Sheet Music
In a career spanning five decades, Peter H. Bloom has performed widely across multiple genres. His discography includes 48 recordings on labels including Sony Classical, Navona, Dorian, Leo Records, 9Winds, and many others. He has worked with Mark Harvey since 1969, has performed with The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra since 1976, has been a member of FiLmprov since its creation in 1996, is a founding member of The Modernistics, and has led his own jazz ensembles for decades.
As a recitalist and chamber musician, Bloom has toured North America, Europe, and the Far East. He performed for The National Gallery in London, Animusic Portugal, Goethe Institute in Bangkok, New Zealand School of Music, The Metropolitan Museum, Jordan Hall, and the National Gallery of Canada, to name a few. He concertizes with Ensemble Aubade, the Karl Henning Ensemble, Ensemble Chaconne, and other groups. Composers who have written for Bloom include Elliott Schwartz, Richard Cornell, Elizabeth Vercoe, Narong Prangcharoen, Edward Jacobs, Mark Harvey, Karl Henning, Pamela Marshall, and Richard Nelson, among others. Bloom has served as consultant to The American Museum in Britain, The New-York Historical Society, The American Antiquarian Society and The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, where he has performed and lectured since 1995. He a winner of the American Musicological Society’s Noah Greenberg Award, and is contributing editor for Noteworthy Sheet Music.
Craig Eaton Ellis (1946-2006) studied musicianship with Fred Gump and veteran jazz drummer Ray Racle in Columbus. From 1966 to 1969, Craig was drummer/composer with Black Swan, an experimental band in San Francisco at the zenith of the psychedelic era. Black Swan appeared with such diverse artists as The Youngbloods, Santana, Dewey Redman, Jeremy Steig & The Satyrs, Blood Sweat & Tears, Buddy Guy, and Creedence Clearwater. Craig worked throughout the United States as a multi-media performance artist with dancers, choreographers, painters, writers, actors, circus troupes and puppeteers. He was a beloved member of the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra for three decades. As a poet, Craig published widely in periodicals including Aspect, Assembling, Gallimaufry, Intrepid, Nostoc, and Wormwood Review. His chapbook Sparrow in the Supermarket was published by Beehive Press in 1997. He was also a small press publisher. Under the imprints of AUGTWOFIVE and Dancing Bear Productions, he distributed works of Douglas Blazek, Robert Creeley, Larry Eigner, Theodore Enslin, James Schevill, Herschel Silverman, Jack Spicer, Jonathan Williams, and others.
Michael Standish (1945-2014) pursued youthful studies in double-bass. He studied philosophy at McGill University and studied culinary arts in Lausanne, Switzerland. He had worked in Ireland, Spain and France and was studying philosophy at Boston University when he joined the Mark Harvey Group as the ensemble’s second percussionist in 1971. Musician, poet, graphic designer, silkscreen artist, Michael left Boston (and the MHG) in the mid-seventies and enjoyed life as an itinerant philosopher while working variously as a carpenter, a laborer in general construction, and the operator of a pile driver. He returned to Boston in the early 1990s where he devoted the remainder of his career to fine carpentry and writing eloquent articles for distinguished journals on woodworking and craftsmanship.