Harvie S


bass player, bandleader, producer, composer


  • "Harvie S has become one of the most inventive bassists in all of Jazz today..." 

The Boston Herald

  • "Harvie's compositions catch the ear, but engage the brain..." 

USA Today

  • "Harvie has awesome chops but never plays merely to show off..." 

The Hartford Courant


Any jazz fan will tell you, Harvie S (formerly Harvie Swartz) is one of the great bass players on the scene today. He's played with the best, inspired the best, and he continues to challenge himself and his peers in new artistic directions. But Harvie is also a producer, bandleader and composer with over 60 of his compositions recorded.

Part of his strength comes from his background as a pianist; he started out earning a degree in piano and composition at the Berklee College of Music. When he took up the bass, he brought with him all the harmonic and rhythmic concepts that are intrinsic to the keyboard and added the lustrous tone, formidable technique and lyrical soloing approach that have become his trademark. His further adventures in the world of music led to his development as a bandleader and producer.

Harvie S arrived in New York in 1973 to work with Mike Abene. This led to work with Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, Gil Evans, Chet Baker, Lee Konitz, John Abercrombie, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims and many other jazz masters. His desire to create a more personal music led to his collaborations with David Friedman and this in turn, yielded the legendary and inovative Double Image CD which was recorded on Enja and ECM. Double Image went on to perform internationally at prestigious festivals, receiving critical kudos with each appearence. During this time Harvie S also played in the Steve Kuhn Quartet which recorded three CDs for ECM and many of his compositions were featured on these recordings.

After playing a short stint with Stan Getz, Harvie decided to make his first solo effort using music he had been working on for the past year and a half. A master tape was sent to Gramma-Vision Records; a contract was signed, and Underneath it All, Harvie's first release as a leader, made its debut. Two more releases followed; Urban Earthand Smart Moves. All received critical acclaim and climbed the radio charts -- in fact, Urban Earth was #3 on Radio & Records and stayed on the charts for three months as well as charting on Billboard . A period of great creativity and activity followed; Harvie, guitarist Mike Stern (who was also playing with Miles Davis at the time) and drummer Victor Lewis formed a trio which played regular gigs in New York City. Harvie was also doing gigs with Jim Hall, and it was at around this time that he started his remarkable association with Sheila Jordan.

In the setting of bass and vocals, this duet produced 10 CDs over a 14 year period. The sensitivity, intricacy and dynamism of this duo mesmerized audiences worldwide and re-established Sheila Jordan as a world-class jazz singer while re-enforcing Harvie's reputation as an original accompanist/improvisor.

Ever questing for new sounds and new outlets, Harvie next recorded the landmark CD, In a Different Light. This project included Mike Stern, John Scofield, Mick Goodrick, Leni Stern, Gene Bertoncini, Winard Harper and Leon Parker (his first recording). A combination of duets, trios and quartets, all the music was recorded live to two-track and no headphones were used during the sessions. Village Voicewriter, Gary Giddins singled out In a Different Light as one of the Best of 1990.

A favorite recording partner by guitarists; Harvie recorded with the two-guitar led quartet of John Abercrombie and Mick Goodrick as well as with Mick Goodrick on his release Biorythms and Mike Stern's What It Is.

In the nineties Harvie felt himself to be at a crossroads, restless and searching for a new musical challenge, "I felt that I needed to grow and learn before I would be ready to make any more CDs as a leader." Thus followed deep study into Afro-Cuban and Latin music with trips to Cuba and sessions there with local masters. After an intense period of synthesis, Harvie emerged even stronger as both a composer and producer. The result can be heard in the band Eye Contact which utilizes all of Harvie's experience and artistry. Eye Contact has the melodic and harmonic sophistication of jazz and the extraordinary rhythmic intensity of Latin music. This Band has been playing clubs in New York City and and appeared at the JVC Jazz Festival in 1998 and subsequently at festivals in the Northeast to standing ovations. Eye Contact's new CD was released in November 1999 on Bembe Records.

Harvie has also been a member of Juan Carlos Formell's Band (New Music of Cuba) and appears on Songs From a Little Blue House on Wicklow Records along with Horacio Hernandez and Mario Rivera and Nestor Sanchez.

For the past two years Harvie has been playing in Virginia Mayhew's band which usually has Allison Miller on drums, Ingrid Jensen on trumpet, and pianists Kenny Barron, Bruce Barth, or Renato Chicco. The title song of their new CD "No Walls" was written and arranged by Harvie.

He also is featured on Pete Yellin's CD Mellow Soul with Chick Corea as well as Chris Washburne's new CD Nuyorican Nights in which Harvie composed and arranged the title cut. In addition to his performance career, Harvie has also been an active jazz educator since 1984. He holds the Jazz bass instructor position at the Manhattan School of Music for both undergraduate and graduate divisions. He has been a guest lecturer at The Cologne Hochshule, McGill University, Berklee College of Music, the Eisler School in Berlin, The Eastman School of Music, The New School and many other colleges and universities worldwide. Harvie has also been the recipient of major grants from the NEA, NYSCA, and ASCAP and Meet the Composer.

Within the media, Harvie has been a featured guest on NPR's "All Things Considered" and "Fresh Air." He can be seen and heard on videos with Toots Thielmanns, Pat Martino, Sheila Jordan, Jay Clayton, Jane Ira Bloom and others. He has written the themes for the documentaries "Trumpet Kings," "Piano Legends," and "John Coltrane." His career has been documented in Leonard Feather's Encyclopedia of Jazz, and The New Grove Dictionary. He has had featured stories in magazines such as; Downbeat, Jazziz, Cadence, Coda, JazzTimes and Swing Journal, Jazz Life, Jazz Forum, Jazz Hot, The Music Paper, The New York Times, The New York Post, and The L.A. Times, Jazz Podium and Jazz-It.


Many people who know Harvie S as a performer, composer, arranger, bandleader, and teacher, should not be surprised to find him combining his 30 years in the music business to be a producer, bringing an artist's project to life.

His most recent, in a series of productions for Jazzheads Records, is a very special CD called "Super Nova". It can be described as an exotic blend of original Brazilian music combined with the freedom and immediacy of cutting edge Jazz. The combination of musicians is quite special. The band consists of Mike Brecker on tenor and soprano saxophone, Toninho Horta, guitar and vocals, Danny Gottlieb on drums, Mark Soskin, piano, Claudia Villela, vocals, and the list goes on to include many other greats.

This groundbreaking recording will be released in April 1998. The liner notes were written by the highly respected Jazz critic Howard Mandel.

Just released is another project by a young pianist and composer, Flip DiBlasio, titled "Flipside". This shows Harvie's stylistic versatility. The setting here is Funk, Gospel, Hip Hop, and Pop, done in a highly musical way. The band includes Bob Mintzer tenor sax, Steve Kahn, guitar, Zach Danziger, drums and Wilson "Chembo" Corniel on Conga's and percussion.

Before that Harvie co-produced, with violinist and pianist Gregor Huebner, a CD on Jazzheads, "Panonian". This release is also out in Europe on the Satin Doll Label and has received rave reviews in all the major publications in Germany. Featured on this CD is famed trumpet master Tim Hagens, Andy Maille on saxophone, Holger Nell, drums, and Harvie S. This is a Band that has been together for three years and will be going to Europe for the fourth time this fall to play festivals and concerts. The second CD was just finished, and should be available in the Fall of 1998.

In November of 1997 a CD called "Manhattan Morning" was released on Jazzheads. This was the second project by saxophonist Leonard Hochman. It went to number 10 on the national radio airplay charts and received rave reviews in many major publications. Some critics picked "Manhattan Morning" for their top ten list of 1997. This project, produced by Harvie S featured Kenny Barron on piano, Joe Locke vibes, Victor Lewis drums, and Harvie on Bass. A highly successful CD, a follow-up is on the way.

Harvie just finished producing a recording with Sherri Roberts, a vocalist from San Francisco, the band features Chris Potter on saxophone, Mark Soskin on piano, Erik Friedlander on cello and Danny Gottleib on drums. This is scheduled for a Fall of '98 release.

Anyone interested in having an experienced producer for a project, feel free to email Harvie to discuss details.