Jason Harnell

Jason Harnell

Instrument: Drums | Location: Los Angeles

"Jason Harnell shows us that he is a free spirit, brilliant percussionist, talented singer, and a totally adventurous character."
—Dee Dee McNeil, Musical Memoirs

Updated: August 17, 2020

Born: November 10

Jason Harnell is a world-renowned 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 twenty five 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 Larry Goldings, Ben Monder, Bob Sheppard, Dave Douglas, Anthony Wilson, Alan Ferber, Kate McGarry, Steve Cardenas, Theo Bleckmen, Joel Harrison, Ben Wendel, Rick Margitza, John Beasley, Bruce Forman, John Pisano, Alan Pasqua, Walter Smith III, Kei Akagi & Maynard Ferguson. Jason is also a member of the long established Los Angeles Jazz Quartet featuring Larry Koonse, Chuck Manning and Darek Oles.

Jason is also the co-leader of four separate critically acclaimed original bands. Formed in 2002, “JoE-LeSs ShOe” is an eclectic, bass-less trio featuring Matt Otto on saxophone and Jamie Rosenn on guitar. JoE-LeSs ShOe has three albums out on Jazz Collective Records and a fourth one on the way. “3-ish”, the adventurous chord-less trio co-lead by bassist Ryan McGillicuddy, Matt Otto and Harnell has been together since 2004 and has two albums out on Jazz Collective Records. “Sigmund Fudge” is an electric modern jazz quartet formed in 2010 featuring Joe Bagg on Fender Rhodes, Jamie Rosenn on guitar and Ryan McGillicuddy on bass. Sigmund Fudge released their debut, self titled album in October of 2016. Jason's latest collaborative effort is the daring keyboard/drum duo project known as, “GO SHLOMO!” GO SHLOMO! released their first album in 2014 on Fboo records and features Grammy Nominated keyboardist, Adam Benjamin. All four of these bands focus on original compositions, with each group displaying a unique ability to traverse boundaries while exploring the very deepest levels of empathetic group interplay and improvisation.

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Primary Instrument



Los Angeles

Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


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), the Musicians Institute in Hollywood (2005-present) and most recently was asked to join the prestigious jazz faculty at Cal State University Northridge/CSUN (2019).Jason has performed as a guest lecturer at CalArts, Cornell University, USC, UCLA, UNR, Saddleback College, Kansas University, Morehead University/Kentucky and Cuesta College. Through his career, Jason has performed clinics, workshops & master classes literally all over the world.

Clinic/Workshop Information

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Mouthpiece Music


Jason Harnell Albums