The Mark Harvey Group – A Rite for All Souls – America’s Musicworks

by | Dec 3, 2020 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

The Mark Harvey Group – A Rite for All Souls – America’s Musicworks (2020)

Mark Harvey – Brasswinds, Trumpet
Peter H. Bloom – Woodwinds, Saxophone
Craig Eaton Ellis – Percussion
Michael Standish – Percussion, Bass 

Lost monaural recording of 1971 performance at Boston’s historic Old West Church, where Harvey was an intern-minister.   Played without notated scores, the collective improvisation and group composition was called “aural theatre”.   Under the influence of the free jazz of those times, especially the Arts Ensemble of Chicago, the MHG employed an array of unusual musical instruments including conch shell, arghul, suona, darabouka, djembe, crotales,  mbira, brake drums, leaf springs, iron cookware, the salvaged harp from a discarded upright piano, children’s toys and found objects.  Poetic recitations include the works of Gary Snyder, William Butler Yeats, Jack Spicer and Craig Ellis.  

The Mark Harvey Group

Some things have changed since 1971 but the music is as fresh and alive as it was forty years ago.   The recording is dedicated to two members who are no longer with us, Ellis and Standish.

Mark Harvey 1973

Mark Harvey — 1970s

Mark Harvey, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in Music at Boston University.  Since 1973 he has been the composer and leader of the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, now in its 47th season. 

Portrait Mark Harvey 2020

Mark Harvey, 2020


Relish the inelegance of atrophy.   I am drowning in this clawfoot bathtub when just a wooden bucket might do.  Asymmetry subjugates the picture frame.    There’s a broom closet inside my glove compartment.  A bell bottomed turtledove crawls out from beneath Rapunzel’s descending braid.   A light rain washes away the napalm.   How can a hurricane’s eye blow down the cyclone fence that surrounds this dancehall basilica?  Following a collision I’m ensnared by the seatbelt’s deadly grasp.    Beyond our cytoplasmic continuum lies a withered praxis of splendiferous annihilation.   We remain hidden from society at large but known to each other within our shared domains.   A corpse stirring on the forest floor is mistaken for a log covered with leaves, numbered footnotes at the bottom of a blank page.   How much longer can logic survive this relentless onslaught of reason?

Track List:
Disc One
Track One – 14:15 — Recitation (Ellis) Snyder: Spel Against Demons
Track Two – 1:44
Track Three – 33:01 — Recitation (Standish) Yeats: The Second Coming; Recitation (Bloom) Spicer: Orpheus 

Disc Two
Track One – 27:08 — Recitation (Ellis) Ellis: Napalm Rice Paper
Track Two: 9:41
Track Three: 11:08

For more information about this release, please visit Americas Musicworks website.

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