You will have only begun to scratch the surface by identifying the masterful Harvey Mason as just a drummer. Yes, his precision time keeping and versatility have placed him among THE most in-demand and most recorded session drummers of all-time. Yes, his tumbling tom-tom fills and the lickity slick synchronization between his hi-hat cymbals, snare and bass drums are instantly recognizable signatures. Yes, he’s been hired by everyone from Barbra Streisand to James Brown to Henry Mancini to Herbie Hancock to Reba McIntyre to Sergio Mendes to the London Symphony Orchestra. Yes, he has played on well over 1,000 recordings and hundreds of film scores, won four 1st place plaques from Modern Drummer magazine's annual studio poll and has been the first call drummer for the Academy Awards ceremonies on 16 occasions.
However, Harvey Mason is a seasoned and scholarly all-around musician for whom drums were an entry point into vast forums of musical expression.
As a composer, he has written songs recorded by artists ranging from Donald Byrd to the Brothers Johnson as well as a television commercial for Mattell Toys’ Shanti doll. He also composed a percussion piece for Quincy Jones’ The Color Purple score.
As a producer, he introduced the world to the Hawaii-based Christian jazz septet Seawind, which inadvertently brought one of the most in-demand horn arrangers (Jerry Hey) and horn sections (the Seawind horns) to Los Angeles and promptly introduced them to Quincy Jones as tightess and most creative horn section he’d ever heard. (Quincy obviously agreed) He also produced the debut album by Midnight Star (The Beginning), inaugurating what would become one of the ‘80s most influential techno-funk groups, Lee Ritenour’s largest selling hit, "Is it You" and Dionne Warwick (Fragile).
As a founding member of the contemporary jazz "super group" Fourplay, Mason flexes his writing, playing and arranging skills with partners Bob James, Nathan East and Larry Carlton (the latter of whom replaced original member Lee Ritenour). Fourplay’s debut album sat atop Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart for thirty-four weeks, leading to a platinum album, three subsequent gold discs, a Soul Train Music Award and three Grammy nominations, to date.
For his work, Mason earned Drummer of the Year honors for the first two years running of the brand new Smooth Jazz Awards.
Finally, his beats have been sampled by many acts, most notably hip hop martyr The Notorious B.I.G.
Indeed, Harvey Mason’s contributions to music stretch into more directions than even those who know much about him can imagine.