Founder member of Way Out West
After studying classical piano as a child, Eddie Harvey played the trombone as a teenager and became a pioneer of the Traditional Jazz revival in the 1940s. He later became part of the modern jazz movement with Ronnie Scott and John Dankworth, eventually becoming a member of the John Dankworth Seven and various big bands in the 1950s as a trombonist and pianist. He also arranged and composed music for the British bands of Humphrey Lyttelton, John Dankworth and Jack Parnell (at Associated TV and “Sunday Night at the London Palladium”).
As one of Great Britain’s foremost jazz instrumentalists, he toured opposite the famous Gerry Mulligan and Modern Jazz Quartets. Eventually he went on to play with American bands including Woody Herman and Maynard Ferguson, and to write music for the Benny Goodman Orchestra.
During the 1960’s he qualified as a teacher and was appointed as assistant master (music) at Haileybury College, Hertford. During this period he also directed Summer Schools for the Jazz Centre Society and conducted an Arts Council tour performing Tony Coe’s major composition “Zeitgeist”. During his time at Haileybury he developed the distinct but related ideas for teaching jazz in education and education in jazz. He left the school in 1984 to concentrate on putting these ideas into practice.
Eddie subsequently worked for the Arts Council of Great Britain and many County Music Authorities providing INSET training for teachers, working in colleges and schools and eventually sitting as a member of the Music Panel of the Arts Council for a number of years. From 1985 to 2003 he was Head of Jazz Studies at the London College of Music and Director of the London College Big Band. In 2004 he taught at the Royal College of Music and directed their big band.
From 1990, Eddie played a significant part in designing the Royal Schools of Music Jazz Piano examinations and syllabus as well as providing piano, ensemble and trombone pieces for the curriculum. He was also an external examiner for the Trinity College of Music.
Over the years he wrote music for many singers including Cleo Laine with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in the US, Christmas music for the St George’s Chapel choir and orchestra at Windsor Castle, and compositions for the Dankworth Generation Band. 2003 saw the completion of commissions for a large classical ensemble, the Kew Wind Band. 2004 witnessed the success of the Ealing Comedies Suite as a finale of the Ealing Jazz festival. This was a multi-media event blending the music played by three bands with the projection of excerpts from five of the famous English films.
In 1998 he was presented with a BT British Jazz Award (Soloist) and in March 2005 received an award for services to jazz education (Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education) from the Parliamentary Jazz Society. This was presented by Dr Kim Howells MP, Minister of State, at the House of Commons.
Eddie Harvey wrote two books: Teach Yourself Jazz Piano, published by English Universities Press and Jazz in the Classroom, published by Boosey & Hawkes
He also edited Jazz with the Greats: an analysis of great jazz solos, by Chris Goddard, published by Faber & Faber.