Gavin Harrison started to work professionally in 1979. In 1983–84 he toured as a member of Renaissance.
He worked as a freelance session drummer on records and tours for the following artists:
Incognito, Lisa Stansfield, Lewis Taylor, Artful Dodger, Paul Young, Iggy Pop, Level 42, Porcupine Tree, OSI, King Crimson, Shooter, Dizrhythmia,The Kings Of Oblivion, Sam Brown, Tom Robinson, Go West, Black, Gail Ann Dorsey, B J Cole, Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin, Nathan East, Yasuaki Shimizu, Camouflage, Kevin Ayers, Claudio Baglioni, Franco Battiato, Chizuko Yoshihiro, Jakko, Richard Barbieri, Mick Karn, Eros Ramazzotti, Devogue.
In 2002 he joined Porcupine Tree.
In 2007 Gavin began a long term collaboration with singer/ bass player 05Ric which led to the release of three CDs, Drop (2007), Circles (2009) and The Man Who Sold Himself (2012).
In 2008, Gavin joined King Crimson as part of a dual-drummer line-up with Pat Mastelotto. Gavin played a number of shows in the United States in August with the band.
In2011 he was a featured performer on the 'Late Show with David Letterman' as part of their second "Drum Solo Week".
As of January 2017, Harrison plays live in the new eight-member formation of King Crimson, as one of the three drummers.
In January 2017 he was guest drummer with The Pineapple Thief for European tour in support of their album Your Wilderness (in which he also played all the drums).
He won "Best Prog Drummer" in DRUM USA magazine 2011. Rolling Stone Magazine polls rate him as the third best drummer in the past 25 years. Best Prog Drummer 2011 & 2012 in Prog Magazine.
Gavin Harrison has authored two instructional drum books entitled Rhythmic Illusions and Rhythmic Perspectives. He also wrote and produced his own instructional DVDs, Rhythmic Visions and Rhythmic Horizons, at his home studio. 2010 saw the release of Rhythmic Designs, a book of transcriptions by Terry Branam, and a 3-hour DVD of Gavin's explanations and demonstrations. It won 'Best in Show' at the summer NAMM show in the USA. 2014 was the release of Rhythmic Compositions: a book of 20 detailed drum transcriptions (by Terry Branam) of recorded Porcupine Tree performances.
2017: New album "Cheating The Polygraph" released on Kscope records. Featuring some Porcupine Tree songs completely rearranged for modern contemporary big band by Laurence Cottle.