Open main menu

Omar Hakim (born February 12, 1959[citation needed]) is an American jazz, jazz fusion and pop music drummer, producer, arranger and composer. He has worked with Weather Report, David Bowie, Sting, Madonna, Dire Straits, Journey, Kate Bush, George Benson, Miles Davis, Daft Punk, Mariah Carey, and Celine Dion.[1]

Omar Hakim
OH 2012.jpg
Omar Hakim performing at Jazztage Görlitz 2012
Background information
Born (1959-02-12) February 12, 1959 (age 60)[citation needed]
New York City, New York, U.S.
GenresJazz, jazz fusion, pop, funk, rock
Occupation(s)Musician, producer, arranger, composer
Years active1980–present
Associated actsMiles Davis, Marcus Miller, David Sanborn Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Stanley Clarke, Sting, Daft Punk, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Kate Bush, Dire Straits, Journey, David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, Sinkane, John Scofield


Early lifeEdit

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.[citation needed]


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.

Hakim played drums on David Bowie's most commercially successful album, 1983's Let's Dance, as well as the follow-up, Tonight, in 1984. Bowie described Hakim as "a fascinating drummer, with impeccable timing" and "always fresh in his approach".[1]

In the mid-1980s, Hakim joined Dire Straits as drummer while recording their fifth album Brothers in Arms. Hakim temporarily replaced the band’s then-permanent drummer Terry Williams, when his performance was felt to be unsuitable for the desired sound of the album after most of the album tracks had been recorded. Hakim re-recorded all the drum tracks on the album in two days and then left for other commitments.[2] Hakim and Williams are both credited on the album[3] (although Williams' only contribution was the improvised crescendo at the start of "Money for Nothing" and Williams was brought back for the music videos and the world tour). Hakim was also part of the band for Sting's first solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, appearing in the film Bring on the Night.

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 1990s includes work with Miles Davis, David Sanborn, Roy Ayers, George Benson, Joe Sample, John Scofield, Lee Ritenour, Toninho Horta, and Najee. In December 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 in early 1990.[citation needed]

During the 1990s, Hakim continued to improve his skills in the realm of electronic percussion, keeping abreast of new technologies.[citation needed] He performed on albums by Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and Jewel, among other 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". In 2010, Hakim formed a band with wife Rachel Z called "The Trio of OZ" and they recorded and toured extensively internationally behind their successful eponymous release. In 2014, he released his third album, entitled We Are One.[citation needed]

Hakim played drums for the Kate Bush 22-night residency called Before the Dawn in London from August 26 – October 1, 2014 at the Hammersmith Apollo.[citation needed]

On June 18, 2015, Journey announced that Hakim would replace longtime drummer Deen Castronovo on their North American tour after Castronovo was arrested for domestic violence in Salem, Oregon.[4]

Omar was featured on the cover of Modern Drummer Magazine in 2014.[5]

Omar was featured on the cover of DrumHead Magazine in 2017.[6]

Omar became the Chairman of the Percussion Department of Berklee College of Music in 2017, replacing the previous Department Chair, John Ramsey.[7]


Between 1988 and 1989 Hakim 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.[8] 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.[9]


As leaderEdit

  • Rhythm Deep (GRP, 1989)
  • The Groovesmith (Oh Zone Entertainment, 2000)
  • The Omar Hakim Experience (Ozmosis, 2014)[10]

As sidemanEdit

With Victor Bailey

  • 1989 Bottom's Up
  • 1999 Low Blow
  • 2001 That's Right

With David Bowie

  • 1983 Let's Dance
  • 1984 Tonight
  • 1989 Blue Jean
  • 1989 Sound + Vision
  • 1990 Changesbowie

With Chic

  • 1999 Live at the Budokan
  • 2002 In Japan
  • 2006 Night in Amsterdam

With Miles Davis

With Dire Straits

With Najee

  • 1986 Najee's Theme
  • 1990 Tokyo Blue
  • 1992 Just an Illusion
  • 2000 Love Songs
  • 2003 Embrace

With Lee Ritenour

  • 1988 Festival
  • 1995 Larry & Lee
  • 2005 World of Brazil

With Special EFX

  • 1988 Confidential
  • 1988 Double Feature
  • 1990 Just Like Magic
  • 1991 Peace of the World
  • 2013 Genesis

With Weather Report

With others


  1. ^ a b "David Bowie: A Different View". Modern Drummer. January 11, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  2. ^ CLASSIC TRACKS: Dire Straits 'Money For Nothing'.
  3. ^ Strong, M.C. (1998) The Great Rock Discography, p. 207.
  4. ^ "Journey Drummer Booted From Tour". Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  5. ^ "Omar Hakim Modern Drummer ON THE COVER". Drumhead Magazine. October 1, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  6. ^ "Issue 63: Omar Hakim". Drumhead Magazine. October 1, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  7. ^ Boston, 921 Boylston Street; Maps, MA 02215 United States See map: Google. "Omar Hakim Named Chair of Berklee's Percussion Department | Berklee College of Music". Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  8. ^ Sunday Night closing credits, episodes #104 (1988), #113 (1989)
  9. ^ Night Music closing credits, episodes #201 (1988), #205 (1989).
  10. ^ a b c "Omar Hakim | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved July 31, 2018.

External linksEdit