Omar Hakim

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

Omar Hakim
Hakim at Jazztage Görlitz 2012
Hakim at Jazztage Görlitz 2012
Background information
Born (1959-02-12) February 12, 1959 (age 62)
New York City, U.S.
GenresJazz, jazz fusion, pop, funk, rock
Occupation(s)Musician, record 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, Foo Fighters, Bryan Ferry, Sinkane, John Scofield, Nile Rodgers/Chic, The Pussycat Dolls

Early lifeEdit

Hakim was born in New York City on February 12, 1959.[1] His father, Hasaan Hakim, was a trombonist.[1] Omar started playing the drums at the age of five,[2] and first performed in his father's band four or five years later.[1][2]


Hakim first came to major attention backing Carly Simon in 1980, and joined Weather Report in 1982.[2] He played drums on David Bowie's 1983 album 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".[3]

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.[4] Hakim and Williams are both credited on the album.[5] Hakim was also part of the band for Sting's album The Dream of the Blue Turtles.[2]

"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."[2] He kept working in jazz fusion, playing with Roy Ayers, George Benson, Miles Davis, Lee Ritenour, Joe Sample, David Sanborn, and John Scofield across the 1980s and 1990s.[2] His debut album as leader, Rhythm Deep, was released in 1989, also featured his singing, and was nominated for a Grammy Award.[2]

In the 1990s, Hakim developed further in electronic percussion, which gave him more opportunities as a session musician: he recorded with pop stars Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and Jewel.[2] His jazz career had faded by the mid-1990s.[2] His second album as leader, The Groovesmith, was released in 2000.[2]

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.[6]

Hakim was featured on the cover of Modern Drummer Magazine in 2014,[7] and was on the cover of DrumHead Magazine in 2017.[8]

Hakim became the Chairman of the Percussion Department of Berklee College of Music in 2017, replacing the previous Department Chair, John Ramsey.[9]


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.[10] 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.[11]


As leaderEdit

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


As sidemanEdit

With Victor Bailey

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

With David Bowie

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 c Smith, Gareth Dylan (October 4, 2012). "Hakim, Omar". Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.A2228366. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Huey, Steve. "Omar Hakim". AllMusic. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  3. ^ "David Bowie: A Different View". Modern Drummer. January 11, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  4. ^ CLASSIC TRACKS: Dire Straits 'Money For Nothing'.
  5. ^ Strong, M.C. (1998) The Great Rock Discography, p. 207.
  6. ^ "Journey Drummer Booted From Tour". Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  7. ^ "Omar Hakim Modern Drummer ON THE COVER". Drumhead Magazine. October 1, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  8. ^ "Issue 63: Omar Hakim". Drumhead Magazine. October 1, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Sunday Night closing credits, episodes #104 (1988), #113 (1989)
  11. ^ Night Music closing credits, episodes #201 (1988), #205 (1989).
  12. ^ a b c "Omar Hakim | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved July 31, 2018.

External linksEdit