Omar Hakim

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Omar Hakim
OH 2012.jpg
Omar Hakim performing at Jazztage Görlitz 2012
Background information
Born (1959-02-12) 12 February 1959 (age 56)
New York City, New York
Genres Jazz, Jazz fusion, Pop music, Funk, Rock
Occupation(s) Musician, Producer, Arranger, Composer
Instruments Drums, percussion, vocals, guitar, piano, violin
Years active 1980–present
Associated acts Miles Davis, Marcus Miller, Weather Report, Sting, Daft Punk, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Kate Bush
Notable instruments
Pearl, Remo, Zildjian, Vic Firth

Omar Hakim (born February 12, 1959) is an American Jazz, Jazz fusion and Pop music drummer, producer, arranger and composer.

Early life[edit]

A graduate of the New York School of Music and Art, Omar Hakim began his career recording with various pop and soul groups. His father, Hasan Hakim, had played trombone for Duke Ellington and Count Basie and that influence helped to warm the younger Hakim's ear up for the part he would play in one of the most famous jazz fusion acts ever, Weather Report.


Hakim credits jazz vibraphonist Mike Mainieri with giving him his first break in 1980; Hakim appeared in a video with Mainieri called The Jazz Life and began working with singer Carly Simon through Mainieri. Hakim first came to major attention as a member of Weather Report and then Sting's Blue Turtles band, appearing in the film Bring On the Night.

In 1984, Hakim did most of the drum work on Dire Straits' album Brothers in Arms, when the previous drummer Terry Williams' performance was found unsuitable for the desired sound of the album after most of the songs had already been recorded. Hakim recorded all the drum tracks on the album in two days and then left. Williams was, however, brought back for the tour.

By this time, Hakim was teaching himself to program drum machines, which put him in even greater demand as a pop, rock, and R&B session musician, and landed him work with Madonna Meanwhile, he continued his work as a jazz fusion drummer; just a partial list of his credits over the 1980s and '90s includes work with Miles Davis, David Sanborn, Roy Ayers, George Benson, Joe Sample, John Scofield, Lee Ritenour, and Najee. In 1989, Hakim released his first solo album, Rhythm Deep, which occupied a middle ground between jazz, R&B, and pop, and gave him a chance to showcase his vocal abilities as well. The results earned Hakim a Grammy nomination.

During the 1990s, Hakim continued to improve his skills in the realm of electronic percussion, keeping abreast of new technologies and thereby keeping his session career in good stead. He performed on albums by Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and Jewel, among other successful pop stars, and initially kept his jazz work going as well, though it had tapered off by the middle of the decade.

In 2000 Hakim released his second solo CD, The Groovesmith, which was produced, recorded and mixed in his personal recording studio "The OH-Zone". He is in the final stages of production on his long-awaited third album, entitled We Are One.

Hakim endorses Pearl drums, Remo drum heads, Zildjian cymbals, Roland electronics, QSC speakers, and Vic Firth drumsticks with whom he has his own signature model.

Drums: Pearl reference series

Heads: Remo clear ambassadors

Sticks: Vic Firth "SOH" signature model.

Zildjian cymbals:

Hakim has played Zildjian cymbals for the entire duration of his career, often switching between various mixes comprising mostly of the A, A custom, and K series. He also often changes his setup size, usually using more cymbals during recording sessions, but usually fewer when performing live.

Current cymbal setup:

14" K mastersound hi-hats

10" K splash

10" A custom splash

11" K custom hybrid splash

14" A thin crash or 16" A thin crash

18" A medium thin crash

19" A medium thin crash or 19" Project 391 crash

19" A custom crash

22" K ride or 22" K custom hybrid ride

20" A china high or 20" fx oriental china trash


Between 1988 and 1989 he appeared regularly as the house band drummer in The Sunday Night Band during the first half season of the acclaimed music performance program Sunday Night on NBC late-night television.[1] After being temporarily replaced by drummer J. T. Lewis for the remainder of that season, Hakim reappeared in the band for the second season in the fall of 1989, when the program returned under the new name Night Music.[2]

Notable Work[edit]

Notable artists he has played with are Michael Jackson, Anita Baker, Sting, Dire Straits, Kate Bush, Weather Report, Mariah Carey, Madonna, David Bowie, Miles Davis, Chic, Bryan Ferry, Aziza Mustafa Zadeh, Everything but the Girl, Marcus Miller, Kazumi Watanabe, Lee Ritenour, Chieli Minucci, The Rippingtons, Bobby McFerrin, and Daft Punk, among others.


  1. ^ Sunday Night closing credits, episodes #104 (1988), #113 (1989)
  2. ^ Night Music closing credits, episodes #201 (1988), #205 (1989).

External links[edit]