"A Rite for All Souls" by The Mark Harvey Group
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A recording of The Mark Harvey Group's 1971 ground-breaking concert to be released as a digitally re-mastered two-CD set.

SOMERVILLE, Mass. - eMusicWire -- On October 31, 1971, in the midst of a tumultuous period in United States history, The Mark Harvey Group gave a profound and innovative concert—A Rite for All Souls—in the sanctuary of Boston's historic Old West Church. The city, and indeed the country, was in the throes of political and social unrest sparked by fervent opposition to America's war in Vietnam and demonstrations demanding an end to injustice, poverty, and inequality.

The Mark Harvey Group (MHG) began as an eight-piece band in 1969 and became the Resident Jazz Ensemble at the Old West Church, where Mark Harvey was an intern-minister. The  A Rite for All Souls concert was a bold aural theatre production, presented by ensemble members Mark Harvey (brass), Peter H. Bloom (woodwinds), and percussionists Craig Ellis and Michael Standish.  The performance was a unique event, with recitations, chants, costumes, and art, in addition to pioneering music improvised using an extensive array of acoustical instruments.

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The old reel-to-reel recording of that 1971 performance lay forgotten in Mark Harvey's basement for nearly 50 years. The tapes, rediscovered in 2018, were of remarkably good quality and have been digitally re-mastered for release as a two-CD set on the Americas Musicworks label.  The official CD release date is July 17, but advance sale orders for A Rite for All Souls (https://www.noteworthysheetmusic.com/cds/734-cd-a-rite-for-all-souls) may be placed now through Noteworthy Sheet Music.

For those of the MHG generation, A Rite for All Souls will evoke profound memories and emotions—at times, disturbing, but also compassionate and uplifting. Those who are too young to have experienced life during the upheaval of wartime may nonetheless find that this 1971 performance resonates today, as we have entered a new period of unease, once again facing political, economic, and social unrest, this time in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Band leader Mark Harvey has enjoyed a long, illustrious career as a trumpeter, composer, arranger, MIT educator, minister, and jazz activist. He is perhaps best known as the founder and music director of The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, now in its 47th season. Peter H. Bloom, also a longstanding member of Aardvark, concertizes widely across multiple genres. He has served as both an historical performance consultant and a champion of new music.  Additional information about The Mark Harvey Group (http://www.americasmusicworks.com/mark-harvey-group.html) and all its members, along with entertaining old photographs of the group, can be found on the Americas Musicworks website.

Source: Noteworthy Sheet Music, LLC
Filed Under: Music

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