Eddie Harvey was born in Blackpool, England, but grew up in Sidcup, where he attended Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School. At the age of 16, he began studying engineering in nearby Crayford. At this time he also took his first professional job as a musician playing trombone with George Webb and his Dixielanders, a pioneering UK traditional jazz band which also featured Wally Fawkes and Humphrey Lyttelton.
After the Second World War, Harvey joined Freddy Randall and also began performing at Club Eleven in London with a number of young musicians — among them Ronnie Scott and John Dankworth — who were beginning to experiment with the bebop style that they had picked up from US musicians like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. When John Dankworth formed the Dankworth Seven in 1950, Harvey was a founder member and the percussionist vocalist Frank Holder was also featured in this group. Harvey stayed until 1953. Now performing on both piano and trombone, Eddie Harvey spent the 1950s performing and recording with a number of important UK jazz groups including bands led by Tubby Hayes, Vic Lewis, Don Rendell, and Woody Herman. He also began arranging for groups like Jack Parnell's Orchestra.
From 1963 to 1972, Harvey was pianist with the Humphrey Lyttelton band. In the early 1970s, he also became interested in teaching jazz. His jazz piano course at the City Lit was one of the first jazz education courses in Europe, and led to his writing Teach Yourself Jazz Piano, which was published in the Teach Yourself series. After ten years teaching Music at Haileybury College in Hertfordshire, he accepted the newly created role of Head of Jazz at the London College of Music. Later teaching posts included the Guildhall and Royal Colleges of Music.
- "Eddie Harvey Obituary". London: The Telegraph. 2012-10-14.
- "Eddie Harvey Interview". Jazz UK Magazine. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2005-03-01.
- Jazz: The Essential Companion | Grafton, 1987
- Vacher, Peter (2012-10-24). "Eddie Harvey Obituary, The Guardian". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-10-24.
- "Eddie Harvey Tribute". Jazz Services. Archived from the original on 2012-10-15. Retrieved 2012-10-11.