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Jason Harnell

Jason Harnell is a Los Angeles based jazz drummer, educator, composer, bandleader and all-round super talent 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 (see the first ever here!). 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 released in May 2019 on Fboo Records. His second solo album, "HARNOLOGY" was just released in December of 2023.

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 previously at Musicians Institute in Hollywood (2005-2020) 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.

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Album Review

Los Angeles Jazz Quartet: Live at Jazz nad Odra

Read "Live at Jazz nad Odra" reviewed by Jim Worsley

In honor of their twenty-fifth anniversary, Los Angeles Jazz Quartet took the stage in Wroclaw, Poland to perform at the Jazz at Odra Festival. This recording is documentation that they know how to celebrate in style. Five originals and two reimagined classics were powerfully and charismatically presented to an attentive and appreciative audience by bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz, drummer Jason Harnell, saxophonist Chuck Manning and guitarist Larry Koonse. Manning came out of the gate pulsating and swinging to the ...

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Master Drummer Jason Harnell Breaks New Ground With Experimental CD And Multimedia Experience, Total Harnage

Master Drummer Jason Harnell Breaks New Ground With Experimental CD And Multimedia Experience, Total Harnage

Source: Mouthpiece Music

When Jason Harnell was six years old, his father, Grammy winning composer and arranger Joe Harnell, invited Louie Bellson to their house to hear the budding prodigy play. After playing a 15-minute solo, the legendary drummer handed the sticks to Jason and said, “Your turn.” When Jason finished, an impressed Bellson gave the boy his drum set – replacing the toy kits he had used up till that point. As a world-renowned jazz drummer, educator, composer and bandleader ensembling with ...

“Other worldly drummer.” - Dee Dee McNeil, Musical Memoirs

"Fun stuff for the musical explorer on the prowl.”- Chris Spector, Midwest Record

“Run for cover!” - George W. Wallace, Jazz Weekly

“One hard swinging drummer” -Brick Wahl, LAWeekly

“Strikes the perfect balance of accompaniment and counterpoint.” - Gary Fukushima, LA Weekly

“A major contributor to the Southern California jazz scene.” - Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene

“Musical and grooves hard.” -Kevin Rabas, JAM Magazine

Primary Instrument



Los Angeles

Willing to teach

Advanced only


Jason has over 35 years of teaching experience and is one of the most in demand drum set educators in his field. Jason is currently on Faculty at University California Irvine, (2004-present) and Cal State University Northridge/CSUN (2019-present).Jason has performed as a guest lecturer at CalArts, Cornell University, USC, UCLA, UNR, Saddleback College, Kansas University, Morehead University/Kentucky and Cuesta College. Throughout his career, Jason has performed clinics, workshops & master classes literally all over the world.

Clinic/Workshop Information

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Jul 14 Sun


Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Self Produced


Total Harnage

fBoo Music


Live at Jazz nad Odra

Self Produced


Sigmund Fudge

Los Angeles Jazz Collective Records



fBoo Records


Midsole - JoE-LeSs...

Self Produced



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