Jason Harnell is a Los Angeles based 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 thirty 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 Kei Akagi, Joe Bagg, Adam Benjamin, Theo Bleckmen, Steve Cardenas, Dave Douglas, Alan Ferber, Maynard Ferguson, Joel Harrison, Larry Goldings, Rick Margitza, Kate McGarry, Ben Monder, Matt Otto, Alan Pasqua, Jamie Rosenn, Bob Sheppard, Walter Smith III, Mark Turner & Ben Wendel. Jason is also a member of the long established Los Angeles Jazz Quartet featuring Larry Koonse, Chuck Manning and Darek Oles.
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).
Click here for a quick sample of Jason's teaching.
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, Funch Cymbals, Aquarian Drumheads and Vic Firth Drumsticks.
Jason's (selected) recorded discography:
JoE-LeSs ShOe: Old Soles (2023); The Ornery Coleman Trio: The Ornery Coleman Trio (2022); Los Angeles Jazz Quartet: Live at Jazz Nad Odra (2019); Jason Harnell: TOTAL HARNAGE (2019); Jamie Shew: Eyes Wide Open (2018); Sigmund Fudge: Sigmund Fudge (2016); Trio Eclectic: Trio Eclectic (2014); JoE-LeSs ShOe: MidSole (2013); 3-ish: Events (2013); GO SHLOMO: GO SHLOMO! (2013); Matt Otto: Broken Waltz (2012); Duane Allen: In Transit (2O11); Mike Scott: Fallen Peach (2011); Lulee Fisher; The Great American Songwriters (2011); Matt Otto: La Commune (2010); JoE-LeSs ShOe: Outsole (2010); Innocent When You Dream: Celebrating the Music of Tom Waits (2010); 3-ish: Baobab (2009); Los Angeles Jazz Collective: Sampler Vol. 1 (2008); Roger Cairns: Let’s... (2008); Kimberly Ford: Songs in the Key of Sea (2007); JoE- LeSs ShOe: JoE-LeSs ShOe (2007); Ronnie Crumbly: Like Father, Like Son (2004); Robert Kyle: Northern Roads (2003); Steve Venz: Scoop (2003); Lulee Fisher: In Love Again (2002); Bill Fulton: Time (2001); Jonathan Dane: From All Sides (2000); Kenny Kotwitz: The Moon is Blue (2000); Keiko Matsui: Light Above the Trees Concert Video (1999); Robert Kyle: Blue Winds (1999); Levi Chen; Liquid Gardens (1999); Mark Chosak: Perception (1998); Four Feet Down: The Fire Between Us (1998); Robert Van: Penumbra (1997); Debby Yeager: Mood Swings (1996); Robert Kyle: That Other Place (1996); Maynard Ferguson: These Cats Can Swing (1995); Charlie Lustman: The Golden Road (1994); Steady Fready: Collective Cuts (1993); The University of South Florida Jazz Ensemble I: Suncoast '90 (1990).