What do James Brown, Dionne Warwick, Duke Ellington, Bill Withers, Carole King, Bjork, The Notorious B.I.G, Aretha Franklin, and Quincy Jones all have in common? They’ve had the pleasure of playing alongside legendary US jazz drummer and producer, Harvey Mason.
Making his debut in the early 1960s, the revered musician is quite easily one of the genre’s most iconic percussionists. Harvey is also a friend of BIMM, having spoken at our Brighton college on more than one occasion. So, it was only right that we welcomed one of the most prolific jazz drummers of our time back to BIMM to inspire our latest stock of talented students.
Harvey’s masterclass – his second at BIMM Brighton – was nothing short of spectacular and kicked off with a half-hour drumming demonstration which had heads bobbing and feet stomping!
Ever the crowd pleaser, Harvey debuted two songs he had written himself before playing hits from his own band, the smooth jazz quartet and supergroup, Fourplay (Bob James, Nathan East and Chuck Loeb).
Harvey later sat down with our Head of Drums, Pat Garvey to shed more light on his writing technique, his life as a session player and the importance of a music education.
“It’s the most important time in your life, you should be highly motivated, study, practice, but everything into it,” he told the audience, before offering a word of advice on making it in the music business.
Revelling in his wisdom, our students listened with intent as the influential percussionist mused on every aspect of his inspirational career and the musicians he has worked with over a career which has spun more than 50 years.
Harvey’s visit to BIMM was nothing short of exceptional. His invaluable insight into the industry and the inner workings of a session musician have inspired our students to continue chasing their dreams, just as he did.
Pat Garvey, BIMM’s Head of Drums and our host on the day was full of admiration for the ‘influential musician’, and his talents as a drummer.
“Harvey Mason came by do a performance Q&A. He demonstrated his mastery of the drums, discussed the importance of a musical approach, as well as how to maintain a career and what it’s like working in many different areas. Harvey is one of the most influential musicians around and is responsible for almost an entire style of drumming, so this was massively valuable for all disciplines,”.
Also reflecting on his appearance, BIMM’s Head of Live Performance, Vinnie Lammi – a fellow session drummer who has played for Take That, The Cocteau Twins, Supergrass and more – praised Harvey’s masterclass and tipped the drummer to return to BIMM in the future:
“His playing was magnificent and very musical, and he answered some very good questions put forward by the students with honesty and with great insight into the world of session playing. I am looking forward to his next visit to BIMM.”
It was great to see Harvey back at BIMM, doing what he loves most. We can’t wait for his next appearance!