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Jason Harnell is a Los Angeles based jazz drummer, educator, composer, vocalist, visual artist, bandleader and all-round super talent whose unmistakable sound and style have left a lasting impact on jazz audiences all over the world. Jason’s boundless energy and creativity have made him a major contributor to the Southern California jazz scene for thirty five years. Renowned for his musicality and versatility, Jason seamlessly navigates between straight ahead jazz and the avant-garde with an approach that’s deeply rooted in tradition, yet remarkably fresh and personal. Born into a musical family, Jason's journey with drumming began at the age of six, guided by legendary drummer and family friend, Louie Bellson.

At the young age of 11, Jason started his professional career playing with his grandfather’s seven piece dance band. By 15, he was already sharing his drumming expertise, teaching lessons at a local music store. At age 22, Jason embarked on his first professional touring experience with the renowned trumpeter Maynard Ferguson's Big Bop Nouveau band.

To date, Jason has performed, recorded and toured with a multitude of world renowned jazz musicians such as Kei Akagi, Theo Bleckmen, Steve Cardenas, Dave Douglas, Alan Ferber, Larry Goldings, Rick Margitza, Kate McGarry, Ben Monder, Alan Pasqua,, Bob Sheppard, Walter Smith III, Mark Turner and Ben Wendel. Jason is also a member of the esteemed Los Angeles Jazz Quartet alongside Larry Koonse, Chuck Manning, and Darek Oles. ⁣⁣
Jason co-leads several enduringly popular original bands as well, including JoE-LeSs ShoE with Jamie Rosenn and Matt Otto, The Ithaca Trio with Adam Benjamin and Storm Nilson, The Ornery Coleman Trio with Joe Bagg and Leonard Thompson, and Go Shlomo! with Adam Benjamin.⁣⁣
In 2017, Jason launched his most creative and ambitious endeavor to date, The Jason Harnell Solo Drum Experience. Jason's live 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 live JH Solo Drum Experience has been called "super inspiring", "entertaining", "musically interesting" and quite often, "funny" (in a good way!) Jason's critically acclaimed debut solo album, "TOTAL HARNAGE" was released in May, 2019 on Fboo Records. His much anticipated second solo album, "HARNOLOGY" was just released in December, 2023.⁣⁣
For over two decades, Jason has held a monthly residency at the iconic Baked Potato jazz club in Studio City, CA. Over time, his performances have gained immense popularity, consistently selling out whenever Harnell and his bandmates take the stage. Thanks to Jason's extensive network of world-class musicians, he is able to arrange for a different band to grace the stage at The Baked Potato each month.

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) and Cal State University Northridge (2019-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:

Ithaca Trio: Jazz Goes Up (2024); Jason Harnell: HARNOLOGY (2023); 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). 

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