Doni Harvey hails from San Francisco, CA. His solo CDs "Your Blues Ain't Like My Blues" and "Doni Harvey 'Live' .....telling", embody the town's attitude of openness, spirituality and liberalism.
Doni’s blues are not blues with a purist and traditionalist attitude but blues that come from a well-educated modern African-American artist. His music is a distinct mix of styles of blues/soul/reggae/rock/ballads. Doni Harvey is also no newcomer to the music scene. In the late seventies he worked in Europe playing bass for Automatic Man, a band led by legendary "Woodstock"-era Santana drummer Michael Shrieve. While working in London, Doni played studio jobs for people like Phil Collins, Steve Winwood and Gary Boyle. His playing and songwriting can be heard on the soundtrack of the James Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me". Doni toured with the successful "GO" project of Japanese artist Stomu Yamashta.
Doni returned to California and formed a trio with his brothers Regi and Chris Harvey. They became a staple of the Bay Area club scene and put out a number of singles, EPs and albums for various indie labels. In the late eighties Doni Harvey joined San Francisco's popular roots reggae big-band, the Caribbean All- Stars and continues to perform with them as bassist, vocalist and music director. Reggae remains one of Doni's great loves. He elevated his visibility in the Bay Area when he joined Clarence Clemons & The Red Bank Rockers as singer and guitar-player.
Here's what Doni Harvey says about his formative years and influences:
"The music I heard at home was mostly jazz, some blues and occasionally some R & B. Some of the artists I heard were my father Earl Harvey (who never performed professionally), Lou Rawls, Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstein, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams and Jimmy Witherspoon. There was also the blues of B.B.King, Bobby Blue Bland and Louis Jordan.
My fascination with music lead me to pick up the guitar at an early age. I picked out things that I heard on the records. Going to church also had an effect on the music that I play. We were taught to sing with crisp diction in order that all of the words could be understood. I draw on the influences of classical music, reggae, world music, and other forms of music to create and visualize the sounds and colors of my music. I was trained in classical music on the clarinet. Later I played cello but quickly went on to the bass violin because I felt drawn to this instrument. I first played jazz while performing in a school talent show. I continued to play music throughout high school and college. It was seeing and listening to Jimi Hendrix that really inspired me to pursue the guitar as another instrument to play and perform. I have always tried to stretch the boundaries and open the possibilities – in life and in music. I feel that I'm still learning and will continue to learn the art of music and living."
Doni Harvey holds Jimi Hendrix in high esteem. He's not the only one, of course. Today, Hendrix seems to stand for much more than just personal tragedy, the excesses of the rock era, or the awe-inspiring music of a genius guitar-player. He also provides a sense of identity for many innovative African-American artists. Doni looks forward to introducing his unique style of the blues to new audiences through the “Peace Love & BBQ” tour.