Jason Harnell is a world-renowned jazz drummer, educator, composer and bandleader whose unmistakable sound and style, as well as his boundless creativity and enthusiasm have made him a major contributor to the Southern California jazz scene for over twenty five years. Coming from a musical family, Jason was practically born with drum sticks in his hands and started playing at age six when close family friend and legendary drummer, Louie Bellson gave Jason his first drum set. Jason is consistently creative and swinging whether playing straight ahead jazz or free explorations. He has performed, recorded and toured with many of the world’s top jazz musicians including Ben Monder, Larry Goldings, Bob Sheppard, Dave Douglas, Anthony Wilson, Alan Ferber, Kate McGarry, Steve Cardenas, Theo Bleckmen, Joel Harrison, Ben Wendel, Rick Margitza, John Beasley, Bruce Forman, John Pisano, Alan Pasqua, Walter Smith III, Kei Akagi & Maynard Ferguson.
Jason is also a member of the long established Los Angeles Jazz Quartet featuring Larry Koonse, Chuck Manning and Darek Oles. Jason is also the co-leader of four separate critically acclaimed original bands. Formed in 2002, “JoE-LeSs ShOe” is an eclectic, bass-less trio featuring Matt Otto on saxophone and Jamie Rosenn on guitar. JoE-LeSs ShOe has three albums out on Jazz Collective Records and a fourth one on the way. “3-ish”, the adventurous chord-less trio co-lead by bassist Ryan McGillicuddy, Matt Otto and Harnell has been together since 2004 and has two albums out on Jazz Collective Records. “Sigmund Fudge” is an electric modern jazz quartet formed in 2010 featuring Joe Bagg on Fender Rhodes, Jamie Rosenn on guitar and Ryan McGillicuddy on bass. Sigmund Fudge released their debut, self titled album in October of 2016.
Jason’s latest collaborative effort is the daring keyboard/drum duo project known as, “GO SHLOMO!” GO SHLOMO! released their first album in 2014 on Fboo records and features Grammy Nominated keyboardist, Adam Benjamin. All four of these bands focus on original compositions, with each group displaying a unique ability to traverse boundaries while exploring the very deepest levels of empathetic group interplay and improvisation.
In 2017, Jason launched his most ambitious and creative endeavor to date, the Jason Harnell Solo Drum Experience. Jason’s solo drum concerts are consistently sold out, multi media events that tantalize the senses and explore rhythm, sight and sound in a completely unique and personal way. The JH Solo Drum Experience has been called “super inspiring”, “entertaining”, “musically interesting” and quite often, “funny” (in a good way!) Jason’s very first solo album, “TOTAL HARNAGE” was just released in May 2019 on Fboo Records!
Jason is also one of the most in demand drum set educators in his field and is on faculty at both University California Irvine, (2004-present) Cal State University Northridge (2019-present) and Musicians Institute in Hollywood (2005-present) and has performed clinics, workshops and master classes all over the world. In recent past, Jason has appeared as a guest lecturer/clinician at such fine institutions as Cornell University, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), University Nevada/Reno, University of Kansas, Morehead University/Kentucky, University California Los Angeles (UCLA), University Southern California (USC) and Cal State University Northridge (CSUN).
Jason has appeared in numerous national publications as “Modern Drummer”, “DRUM”, “Jazziz” and “Downbeat” and can be heard/seen in the Clint Eastwood film “J.Edgar”, the Judd Apatow film “Funny People” and the Ridley Scott film “American Gangster”. Jason’s work can also be heard on the television shows “Tosh.O”, “Married with Children”, “Beverly Hills 90210” and on commercials for Verizon, Nissan, Chili’s, Cheetos, the Houston Chronicle, Taco Bell and Suntory Royal Whisky.
Jason proudly plays and endorses Yamaha Drums, Istanbul Agop Cymbals, Aquarian Drumheads and Vic Firth Drumsticks.