Harvey Mason and the Chameleon Project will be one of the new faces at the 20th Jazz in the Pines next month. Mason is a world-renowned drummer who has appeared on more than 1,000 recordings. He also is one of the original members of Fourplay, a widely popular jazz quartet.
While Mason has not performed here, Idyllwild has been a frequent winter destination for him. “I love Idyllwild,” he said. “I’ve been coming during snow times and stay at a cabin.”
Mason is familiar with Jazz in the Pines and looks forward to playing there. Bubba Jackson, the Jazz Fest’s artistic director, recruited and persuaded Mason to play.
The Chameleon Project is a quintet including Mason on drums, Darrell Jones on bass, Patrice Rushen on keyboard, Bill Summers on percussion, Mark De Clive-Lowe on piano/keyboard and Kamasi Washington on saxophone.
Although Mason has been part of Fourplay since the early 1990s, one of its benefits is the groups still encourages members to pursue individual direction. Mason, who had formerly been a long-time studio musician, worked with Herbie Hancock.
In 1973, they recorded a 15-minute jazz classic — now “Chameleon” — which first appeared on Hancock’s album, “Head Hunters.” While this sets a tone for Mason’s group, he also said, “I consider myself a chameleon. Over 30 years I recorded solo as well as with all individuals and with Fourplay. I can easily switch into different jazz genres from bebop to smooth and different music from pop to country to R and B.”
At Jazz in the Pines, Mason and his group will be playing jazz. “We’ll be creating music right before your eyes,” he promised.