Multi-reed musician and teacher from Burlington, Vermont, who started out playing alto saxophone with Boyd Raeburn’s band and went on to perform with Tommy Dorsey and Sauter-Finegan, as well as playing flute for the Longines Symphonette.
His discography stretches back to the late 40s/early 50s, as evidenced by the 2003 CD release, Charlie Ventura 1949-1951. He also appears on the Buddy Morrow compilation, Big Band Buddy: Studio & Live 1945-1957, released on CD in 2004.
He brushed up his Shakespeare in January of 1956, playing flute and clarinet in a New Mercury Theatre Production of King Lear, starring Orson Welles and Geraldine Fitzgerald.
Harvey opened the 1960s under the baton of Frederick Fennell on the Mercury Living Presence release, Frederick Fennell Conducts Cole Porter. In 1964, he collaborated with J.J. Johnson on J.J.! and a year later appeared on Stan Getz Plays Music from the Soundtrack of Mickey One, playing alto flute, alto sax, clarinet, flute and piccolo. The ABC Staff Orchestra afforded him an opportunity to join them in 1967, leading to work on TV shows such as The Dick Cavett Show. Other TV credits include those famous big-band specials on PBS, and a stint in the music production department of The Sunset Gang. He played flute on a pair of albums in 1968, Nat Adderley’s You, Baby and Wes Montgomery’s Road Song, and closed out the decade as Milton Nascimento’s flautist on the 1969 release, Courage.
The 1970s would be no less prolific. He showed he could take direction on Bill Evans’ From Left to Right, let himself be heard on Charles Mingus’s 1972 LP, Let My Children Hear Music, played flute, piccolo and recorder on Grover Washington, Jr.’s 1973 Soul Box releases, and rejoined Evans; with Claus Ogerman & His Orchestra in tow; on 1974’s Symbiosis. From 6th March 1974 through 4thJanuary 1975, he joined the pit band for The Andrews Sisters’ musical, Over Here!. (A recording was issued on CD in 1992.) In 1975, he appeared on The Manhattan Transfer, Rocky Mountain Christmas by John Denver, and the decidedly secular The Rape of El Morro with Don Sebesky. He undoubtedly spent much of the following year assembling the 92nd Street Y Studio Orchestra, which he founded and served as music director.
It was back to the studio for Harvey in 1977 to offer support on Lenny White’s Big City. He multi-tasked again on the 1978 albums, Sunny Side Up by Wilbert Longmire and Boys in the Trees by Carly Simon, featuring on no less than seven different instruments on the two albums combined, and helped ease Diana Ross and company on down the road on the soundtrack of The Wiz. In April of 1979, he returned to Broadway for the short-lived run of Carmelina, and joined a legion of his fellow session musicians on Frank Sinatra’s boxed set, Trilogy. A year later, he got Naughty with Chaka Khan and rode shotgun with Deodato on Night Cruiser.
He managed to escape the cutting-room floor on 1987’s The Manhattan Transfer Anthology: Down in Birdland and played ocarina on Jonathan Elias’s Requiem for the Americas; Songs from the Lost World and The Chant Movement, in 1989 and 1990, respectively.
Harvey never shrank from performing modern music: he recorded Stefan Wolpe’s Quartet for Tenor Saxophone, Trumpet, Piano and Percussion for the Nonesuch label, helped Maurice Abravanel and the Utah Symphony Orchestra serve up Belshazzar’s Feast by William Walton, conjured up spirits via pan flute and pan pipes on Michael Whalen’s Phantom of the Forest, and celebrated the Shabbat with Gershon Kingsley on the Naxos release, Voices from the Shadow. Irwin Bazelon wrote his Churchill Downs Concerto for Harvey, and he returned the favour by recording it on 1993’s simply titled Music by Irwin Bazelon. Harold Faberman and Meyer Kupferman also wrote for him: Harold penned Concerto for Alto Saxophone and String Orchestra and Kupferman wrote the improv-friendly Jazz Infinities Trio.
Other artists and groups with whom he has worked include Elena Bennett, Tony Bennett, Clifford Carter, Tom Chapin, Barbara Cook, Michael Franks, Kimiko Itoh, Bob James, Andre Kostelanetz, Wynton Marsalis, the New York Philharmonic , John Pizzarelli, Wallace Roney, The Shirts, Jimmy Smith, Dawn Upshaw, Loudon Wainwright III.
On 21st September 2002, Harvey passed away from complications due to surgery. Many donations have been made to the Mannes College School of Music in his memory.
Frank Sinatra recordings
That’s What God Looks Like To Me (Stan Irvin/Lan O’Kun)
Reprise RPS 49233 (XNY2101S) (US 45)
Theme from “New York, New York” (Fred Ebb/John Kander)
Reprise RPS49233 (XNY 2103 S) (US 45)
He performs on clarinet here on “Finegan’s Wake” by the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra…