It’s hard to imagine someone telling Omar Hakim that he doesn’t play enough solos. To be fair, the importance of a drummer isn’t limited to simply carrying the rhythm. Still, it isn’t necessary for a good drummer to solo in order to make an impact. Throughout his career, Hakim has done that numerous times, both as a sideman and as a leader. However, he has taken some flak for not playing enough solos. With that in mind, The Omar Hakin Experience presents We Are One (OZmosis Records, 2014).
The album title can be taken as a testament to the group dynamic, or how people have a symbiotic relationship with other humans. Whatever the underlying message, the 10 original tracks – Hakim wrote or co-wrote each song – offer plenty of originality with stylish contributions from all players. The corps ensemble consists of Hakim, keyboardist Scott Tibbs, guitarist Chieli Minucci, bassist Jerry Brooks, keyboardist Rachel Z and harmonica player Gregoire Maret. Additional players contribute to a few tracks.
Hakim and Tibbs teamed up to write the funky “Transmigration.” Brooks’ bass line helps set the mood. This is a group effort all the way. Hakim’s dexterity lays the foundation, but all the other players make significant contributions, whether leading the rhythm, injecting a solo or filling the background canvas. Special mention must be made to Minucci and Rachel Z. Regardless of which instrument is out front at a given moment, there’s always a sense of movement. Hakim splits time between the electronic V-Drums and the acoustic kit.