Jason Harnell is one of the most sought-after jazz drummers/educators/composers
on the West Coast and a mainstay on the Los Angeles jazz scene for over twenty years. His unmistakable sound and style,
as well as his boundless imagination and pure love of the instrument, make him a driving force on the creative music scene
Coming from a musical family, Jason was practically born with drum sticks in his hands and started
playing drums at the ripe old age of six when close family friend and jazz drumming icon, Louie Bellson gave Jason his first
real set of drums. After several years of private study with Hank Bellson (Louie's brother), Jason worked his very first
professional gig at age eleven with his grandfather, Dick Crockett and his seven piece dance band in St. Petersburg, Florida.
He then went on to do regular gigs with his mother, talented vocalist Frankie Crockett and later with his father, Grammy award
winning pianist/composer/arranger Joe Harnell. After extensive private study in his formative years with such drum luminaries
as Louie and Hank Bellson, Shelly Manne, Joe Porcaro, Tom Glaister and Vinnie Colaiuta, he attended the University of South
Florida, where he studied with Bob McCormick and Chuck Owen. Jason then moved to Los Angeles in 1990 and continued his
extensive private studies with such master drummers as Dave Weckl, Jeff Hamilton and Joe LaBarbera and in '92 was asked to
join the prestigious Maynard Ferguson Big Bop Noveau Band. Jason enthusiastically accepted the invitation and for nearly
two years, toured all over North America, Europe,
Japan, Australia, Indonesia, and China. During this
time, he also recorded an album with Maynard for the Concord Jazz label, entitled "These Cats Can Swing".
Through the years, Jason has performed and recorded
with many of the world's top jazz musicians including, Ben Wendel, Anthony Wilson, Steve Tavaglione, Dave Carpenter, Kate
McGarry, Theo Bleckman, Gary Versace, Rueben Rogers, Bruce Forman, John Beasley, Shelia Jordan, Tim Reis, Ric Zunigar and
Tigran Hamasyan, to name a few. These days, Jason plays regularly in bands featuring musicians such as Bob Sheppard,
Larry Goldings, Larry Koonse, Joe Bagg, Kei Akagi, and Darek Oles. Jason also keeps a very busy performance schedule
as an active member of several L.A. based origianal bands. "JoE-LeSs ShOe” (www.joelessshoe.com), the critically acclaimed bass-less trio featuring Matt Otto on saxophone and Jamie Rosenn on guitar, has been togehter
since 2002 and released their second album, "Outsole" in November of last year on Jazz Collective Records.
"3-ish", the adventuresome chord-less trio comprised of Ryan McGillicuddy on bass, Matt Otto on
sax and Harnell has been playing together since 2004 and released their debut CD, “Baobab” in 2008 (on J.C. Records)
with a second album due out later this year. Jason is also a member of “Sigmund Fudge”
, the popular electric quartet, featuring the talents of Joe Bagg on keyboards, Jamie Rosenn on guitar and Ryan McGillicuddy
on bass. Lastly, Jason's most recent endevor is the daring keyboard/drumset duo project, "GO SHLOMO!",
co-lead by pianiast Adam Benjamin (of Kneebody), whose first record will be out in the Spring of 2013 on f.Boo records.
All of these projects focus on original material and each group displays a unique ability to traverse boundaries while exploring
the very deepest levels of empathetic group interplay.
As an educator, Jason began teaching drumset at age
fifteen at a local St. Petersburg music store (Seminole Music) and upon graduating Seminole High School, went on to teach,
as well as write and arrange, for two award winning high school drumline/percussion ensembles in the Tampa Bay area (Countryside
and Tarpon Springs High Schools). Currently, Jason is one of the most in demand educators in his field and is on faculty
at University California Irvine, (2004-present) and at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood (2005-present) where he not only
teaches privately, but also teaches an advanced jazz drumming class in which in wrote the curriculum for. Jason is also
a "core" member of the influential "Los Angeles Jazz Collective" (www.lajazzcollective.com), which is a group of creative, like-minded musicians dedicated to building a stronger jazz community within Los Angeles
and a greater public appreciation for improvised music.
Jason has been featured
in such national publications as "Modern Drummer", "DRUM", "Jazziz" and "Downbeat"
and can be heard/seen on the recent Clint Eastwood film. "J.Edgar", the Judd Apatow film, "Funny People"
and the television shows, "Married with Children" and "Beverly Hills 90210". His commericial credits
include Verizon, Nissan, Chili's, Cheetos, the Houston Chronicle and Suntory Royal Whisky, to name but a few.
Jason proudly plays and endorses Yamaha Drums, Istanbul Cymbals, Remo Drumheads and Vic Firth Drumsticks.