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, Bryan Ferry, Journey, Kate Bush, George Benson, Miles Davis, Daft Punk, Mariah Carey, The Pussycat Dolls, David Lee Roth, 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 63)
New York City, U.S.
GenresJazz, jazz fusion, pop, funk, rock
Occupation(s)Musician, record producer, arranger, composer
Years active1980–present

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.[4] Hakim re-recorded all the drum tracks on the album in two days and then left for other commitments.[5] Hakim and Williams are both credited on the album.[6] 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.[7]

Hakim was featured on the cover of Modern Drummer in 2014,[8] and was on the cover of DrumHead in 2017.[9]

Hakim became the Chairman of the Percussion Department of Berklee College of Music in 2017, replacing the previous Department Chair, John Ramsey.[10]

On September 3rd 2022 Omar appeared at the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium performing on sets with Nile Rodgers, Josh Homme, Chris Chaney, Gaz Combes, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush, Paul Mcartney, Chrissie Hynde and The Foo Fighters.


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.[11] 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.[12]


As leader/co-leaderEdit

  • Rhythm Deep (GRP, 1989)
  • The Groovesmith (Oh Zone Entertainment, 2000)
  • The Trio of OZ, The Trio of OZ (OZmosis, 2010)
  • The Omar Hakim Experience, We are One (OZmosis, 2014)
  • OZmosys, Eyes To The Future, Vol. 1 EP (OZmosis, 2019)

As a memberEdit

Great Jazz Trio
with Hank Jones and John Patitucci

  • Stella by Starlight (Eighty-Eight's, 2006)
  • July 5 th - Live at Birdland NY (Eighty-Eight's, 2007)
  • July 6 th - Live at Birdland NY (Eighty-Eight's, 2007)

As sidemanEdit

With Victor Bailey

With Urban Knights

With David Bowie

With Chic

  • Live at the Budokan (Sumthing Else Music Works, 1999)
  • In Japan (Charly, 2002) – compilation
  • A Night in Amsterdam (Universe Italy, 2006)

With Miles Davis

With Dire Straits

With George Benson

With Najee

With Lee Ritenour

  • Festival (GRP, 1988)
  • Larry & Lee (GRP, 1995)
  • World of Brazil (GRP, 2005)

With Special EFX

  • Confidential (GRP, 1989)
  • Double Feature (GRP, 1988)
  • Just Like Magic (GRP, 1990)
  • Peace of the World (GRP, 1991)
  • Genesis (Shanachie, 2013)

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}}: 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. ^ "How Dire Straits Shattered Expectations With 'Brothers in Arms'". Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  5. ^ CLASSIC TRACKS: Dire Straits 'Money For Nothing'.
  6. ^ Strong, M.C. (1998) The Great Rock Discography, p. 207.
  7. ^ "Journey Drummer Booted From Tour". Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  8. ^ "Omar Hakim Modern Drummer ON THE COVER". Drumhead Magazine. October 1, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  9. ^ "Issue 63: Omar Hakim". Drumhead Magazine. October 1, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  10. ^ 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. {{cite web}}: |first2= has generic name (help)
  11. ^ Sunday Night closing credits, episodes #104 (1988), #113 (1989)
  12. ^ Night Music closing credits, episodes #201 (1988), #205 (1989).
  13. ^ a b "Omar Hakim | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved July 31, 2018.

External linksEdit