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Drumming legend Omar Hakim joins Berklee as percussion department chair

Omar Hakim is the new chairman of the percussion department at Berklee College of Music.

John Abbott

Omar Hakim is the new chairman of the percussion department at Berklee College of Music.

Drummer Omar Hakim, whose handiwork can be heard on everything from David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” is the new chairman of the percussion department at Berklee College of Music.

The 58-year-old drummer, who’s kept the beat for the likes of Miles Davis, Madonna, Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Chaka Khan, and D’Angelo, succeeds John Ramsey, who’d been the department chair since 2008.

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“I am thrilled and excited about the possibilities of my new role at Berklee,” Hakim said in a statement. “I see this as an incredible opportunity to be a part of one of the best foundational programs in the world for young drummers, and I look forward to identifying new and innovative ways to inspire and prepare Berklee students for successful careers in music.”

A native New Yorker, Hakim began playing drums when he was 5. Five years later, he was touring with his father, Hasan, a trombonist who played with Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Hakim’s big break came in 1980, when vibraphonist Mike Mainieri hired him to play in Carly Simon’s band. He later joined the fusion band Weather Report.

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“Omar Hakim has always been cutting edge,” said Grammy-winning jazz drummer and Berklee prof Terri Lyne Carrington. “I am excited to see how the percussion department will be enhanced under his visionary leadership.”

Hakim is married to the jazz and rock keyboardist Rachel Z.

Here’s an Omar Hakim drum solo, because why not?

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