Drummer Harvey Mason ’68 has worked with a Who’s Who of musicians, playing with everyone from Bob James to Chick Corea to Lee Ritenour to George Benson. He has toured with Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters and been in the Mizell Brothers' productions with Donald Byrd, Johnny Hammond, Bobbi Humphrey, and Gary Bartz. His drum duet with percussionist Ralph MacDonald on Benson’s hit “On Broadway” shows off his style, and his beats have been samples for the Notorious B.I.G. and P. Diddy, among others.
Harvey William Mason was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1947 and developed an interest in drumming at a young age. He studied performance, composition, arranging, and percussion at both Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music. Since starting his career in the '70s, Mason has released many albums, producing some of them as well as composing the music. In 1979, he released a hit single, “Groovin’ You,” from the album of the same name, and he has recorded everything from jazz to religious works to jingles.
Always a good collaborator, Mason is the percussionist for the contemporary jazz group Fourplay, comprising keyboardist Bob James, guitarist Chuck Loeb, and bassist Nathan East. For his solo work and work with Fourplay, he has been nominated for 11 Grammy Awards and won several Modern Drummer magazine awards. In 2015, Mason received an honorary doctorate from Berklee, and he's clear about what Berklee has meant to his career. In his 2015 commencement speech, Mason summed up time at Berklee thus: “The Berklee experience helped me to become my own man. Being in this environment was stimulating beyond words. Now, as all of you go out into the world, I urge you to search your heart and soul, and proceed with passion. Go out and make some great music. Go out and make some noise!”