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Omar Hakim

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The legendary Omar Hakim takes advantage of every hot, new percussion option out there, from acoustic drums, to Roland’s electronic V-Drums—which he MIDIs into his Power Mac—when he plays drums for and produces the greats of pop and jazz fusion.

A well-recognized percussionist and producer in these two distinct worlds of music, Hakim may be the only person who can say he’s played drums for David Bowie, Madonna, Sting and Miles Davis.

“I had a natural affinity for drums and rhythm very young,” says Hakim. “I started playing drums at about age five, when I got a toy drum as a Christmas gift from an uncle. They strapped that thing around my neck and I immediately started playing one of those marching cadence kind of beats.”

By the time he turned ten, Hakim was playing in his father’s band. At age 15, he did his first tour.

Music in the Tree Granted, music flowed through the genes of the Hakim family. His father, Hasan Hakim, played trombone for Duke Ellington and Count Basie. This heavy jazz influence helped to warm the younger Hakim’s ear up for a part he would later play in one of the most famous jazz fusion acts ever, Weather Report.

“My career really took off in 1980,” recalls Hakim. “I met a guy named Mike Mainieri, an award-winning jazz vibraphonist, who also produced Carly Simon. Carly needed a drummer, so he hired me to play in her band.”

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